How to Manage Overwhelming Workload
© Bethany Legg
It is a fact: work and working life is the biggest stress creator in the modern world.
Rampant interconnected technology and the increasing blurring of lines between working life and personal life means that we sometimes bring that stress home with us.
The pressures of the global economy and expanding competition means that businesses drive their workers very hard, and the demands of a company sometimes overshadow the needs of the individual. It is little wonder then, that most of us suffer from the same feeling of being overwhelmed.
Though we cannot always change the ways in which our companies adapt to these increasing demands, we can adapt to the changing environment. Here are five key ways to cope with an overwhelming workload.
The most important task
For most employers and line managers who deal out these tasks, there is an understanding, at some level, that there are those which need immediate and effective action and those that require less attention.
Ensure that, through effective communication, you understand what is at stake with each task, and prioritize it accordingly. Think of what impact you will make, what the greater ramifications of getting done are, rather than putting it off because it is difficult.
Embrace your fear of failure
Even the most hard-nosed of us have moments of doubt. We ask ourselves if we are really up to the tasks set for us, and sometimes these challenges seem insurmountable. But in recognizing that others feel this way, we must also recognize that we are just as capable.
Fear of failure can be a great driver for stronger competition.
The fear of failure is natural. It is stressful and can damage our self-confidence if we let it. Rather than wallow in the fear, we must harness it and use it to our advantage. At an instinctual level, we seek approval, and the worry that we won’t receive can drive us to compete. This isn’t to say that we should anticipate the feeling of failure, which in itself can be demotivating. Instead we should anticipate the removal of the fear of it, as a positive reward.
There is a world of people scrolling idly down their news feeds and social media accounts right now when they should probably be getting on and working. We should accept that procrastination is part of life, and actually is part of what makes life worth living.
The trick is to ensure that we procrastinate in productive ways. Procrastination is a way of relaxation, of de-stressing and re-energizing ourselves for the tasks at hand.
Therefore, get into the habit of using your procrastination time away from the computer, eating something nice, or even playing a game that will allow you to return to the task with a new perspective.
Measure your results
You should get into the habit of understanding the impact of each task, and write it down for posterity.
A lack of understanding our impact can make hard work seem pointless and leave us feeling just as pointless.
None of our colleagues or managers will have as good a grasp on how we benefit the business as we do. Getting into the habit of listing out our achievements and our impact on our business keeps our efforts in perspective and keeps us motivated.
Enjoy your tasks
In dealing with our workload, we can end up losing sight of the most important way of de-stressing our working day. Whether it’s an energizing challenge, an opportunity to get creative or finding ways to interact with the people we like, keeping the reasons why we have taken these tasks in mind is a good way of losing that feeling of being overwhelmed.