Top 10 Tips for Beating Overwhelm at Work

Top 10 Tips for Beating Overwhelm at Work

A Social Worker's Top 10 Tips for Beating Work Overwhelm

How many of us have felt that there just were not enough hours in the day? How many of us are working on one thing, while our minds are thinking about all the other things we have to do during the day? If you raised your hand to either of these questions, then continue reading for ten tips on how to beat the overwhelm.

1. Get organized

One of the main reasons people tend to feel overwhelmed is because they have so many things to do and feel overwhelmed when thinking about it. The first thing you should do is get organized. You might have to invest in binders and things that can help you color code items.
You can also make use of the great tools online to help with organization, for example Google Apps or Office Apps. Play around with them and see which apps work best for you. Make use of the different email folders in the various email systems to organize all the emails in your Inbox.

2. Make lists

Making lists of tasks in order of priority and how much time you anticipate each task taking enables you to see what needs to get done that day and what can wait until you have more time. You will see that some tasks can be done in short intervals when you have a free moment.

3. Cross tasks off your list

There is no greater feeling than completing a task and crossing it off the list. After you have completed a task, cross it off the list. At the end of the day you will see how much you accomplished!

4. Take breaks during the day

Taking breaks while you have so much to do might sound like it will increase your feelings of being overwhelmed, but as a recent Forbes article states, “Your brain needs a breather in between tasks so it can fully focus and engage when you need it to. In fact, the most productive employees take a full 17-minute break for every 52 minutes of concentration.” Now, granted, not everyone has that kind of break time to take, but the tip is a good one. Once you complete a task and cross it off your list, take a breather, even if it is just to get up from your desk and stretch.

5. Hire an assistant

Sometimes the work can get too much for you, so it is okay to say that you need help. Hiring an assistant can free you up to do the tasks that only you can do, or enable you to spend extra time with your family – or doing something just for you!

6. Set office hours

Even though you might do some or all your work at home, make sure you have specific hours that people know are your official “office hours.” That way people know when they are trying to reach you “after office hours” and they might think twice about whether what they wanted to talk to you about is so urgent that it can’t wait until the next day.

7. Try to complete all tasks by the weekend

When making your lists of tasks, there might be some items that get pushed from day to day as more important things come up. Try to pace yourself so you can complete all tasks on your list before the weekend. That way you can enjoy your weekend without having that nagging feeling of “there’s still that thing waiting for me when I get back to the office.”

8. Find someone to vent to

Having a friend or coworker to air frustrations or feelings of being overwhelmed can be a huge weight off your shoulders. Even if your workload remains exactly the same, just expressing your feelings out loud can help you feel better. (Side benefit: he or she might also offer to help you out with some of your workload.)

9. Know that it is okay to say no

This is a concept that is very hard, especially for women. If you are feeling overwhelmed, and someone wants to give you MORE work, it is okay to say no. If you feel uncomfortable saying an outright no, be honest and say that due to your current workload, you do not know how much time you will be able to invest in that person’s project. Then it is up to the person to decide whether they can wait for you to do it at your own pace, or if they prefer to ask someone else.

10. Take a vacation day

Similar to frequent breaks, vacation days tend to go off your radar screen when you have so much work. Get it back on the radar screen: taking a breather is a GOOD thing when you feel overworked and overwhelmed. In fact, it’s so important that some companies PAY their employees EXTRA to take a vacation! When you come back after a rejuvenating day of relaxing, you’re likely to have more energy and a fresh perspective.

Feeling overwhelmed is no fun for anyone. But it is within your ability to do something about it. Trying even one of these things mentioned above can restore your sense of control and peace of mind.
Which one are you going to try?

DebbieSubmitted by Debbie