Overwhelmed at work? 5 things you can do to fix it

We juggle so many things on a day-to-day basis in our work and personal lives. Have you ever started the day already dreading what needs to be done? When there is too much work to be done, but not enough time?

Many of us can relate to this feeling. We often find ourselves working longer hours in order to try stay on top of things, until it starts to feel like a never-ending cycle. Feeling overwhelmed at work is definitely not an unfamiliar concept and trying to push past this feeling often leads procrastination, or even worse, burn out.

man overwhelmed at workThe World Health Organization (WHO) now recognizes burnout as a diagnosable syndrome, even going as far as describing it as an “occupational phenomenon,” which suggests that it can be directly attributable to job stress. The to-do lists get longer, the meeting requests seem to grow by the day and the “Kind Regards” signatures get less and less kind as the year goes on. As if that isn’t enough, there will also be an unexpected meeting or a deadline that needs to be pushed closer last minute. Managing your time and emotions can be quite an overwhelming task. 

Discipline and motivation are sometimes hard to come by – especially in the middle of a global pandemic. Feeling overwhelmed can have a negative effect on your work output. Which is why it is sometimes best to hire a virtual personal assistant to take some of the load off your hands before you completely shut down. We know not everyone will be able to hire a virtual personal assistant, so we’ve compiled a list of solutions you can try in the meantime.

1. Delegate tasks if necessary

Overcommitment is one of the leading causes of burnout. In situations where you are unable to say no to additional work, it is important to rather delegate tasks. You don’t always need to do everything yourself if you don’t have the capacity. This does not make you any less dedicated than your counterparts. It is better to manage fewer tasks and do them well than to rush to complete tasks and complete them poorly, or even worse, not complete them at all.

2. Prioritise rest

It might feel like you’re being more productive by pulling that all-nighter, but the result is that you are not very productive when you are tired. Your rest is just as important as your work. When you aren’t well-rested, it takes you longer to complete tasks. Get a good night’s rest and give it your best shot in the morning when you are well-rested.

3. Create and maintain boundaries

Create balance in your day. You need to create and maintain boundaries between work and personal life. If you don’t create and maintain these boundaries, your personal and work lives will start to bleed into each other. Clearly communicate your working hours and stick to them. It might be tempting to work outside of these hours, but you run the risk of turning this into an expectation. It is important that you do not use your personal time doing work, but it is also just as important that you don’t use your work hours for personal things. Using time-tracking applications can help with ensuring that you have dedicated the required hours to your work. 

4. Reward yourself

Signal off the end of your workday by planning a fun activity. It is important to have a distinct ending to your workday in order to separate your work from your leisure time. Go for a jog, take your dog for a walk or catch an episode of your favourite show. This will help you make sure that you close your laptop is closed in time. It is also something to look forward to when all your hard work is complete. It is usually best to have this be an activity you can perform outside. 

5. Be intentional about what you choose to focus on

Manage your time effectively by being intentional about what you give your attention to. A lot of the things we stress about are often just distractions. Make sure you discern what is important and ignore the rest.

These are just a few tips will help you to prevent being overwhelmed at work. There are many ways to achieve a sustainable work environment, and your needs might differ from the next person. The most important thing to remember is that you always have control over what you choose to do – if your work is costing you your health and mental wellbeing then it could be time for some big changes.