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What to do if I'm feeling overloaded

What to do if I'm feeling overloaded

In times of work overload we can lose confidence in ourselves and our ability to make decisions. Burnout often arises in work situations where we have a high degree of responsibility (perceived or actual), and a low degree of control. A big problem when we are overloaded is that we don’t think as clearly, so we are less able to recognize that we are not going ok and may be defensive and feel unable to accept help. If we take a few steps to manage our stress, it can help to ease the feeling of overload.

Speak to your manager (or other support person at work)

Your manager may not be aware that you are feeling overloaded at work or that there are other thing going on in your life that might be contributing to how you are going at work.  Arrange a time to meet with your manager to discuss - they may not be fully aware of the competing demands or extent of your workload, or other factors influencing your ability to manage your workload.  If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your manager, get in touch with your Human Resources Advisor or another manager who can provide the same level of support.  A range of other support services are also available 

Focus on your priorities

Identify your work priorities. If you can’t achieve everything that is important or doable at work, tell your manager. It’s okay to say ‘no’ to taking on extra work. It’s important to look after all areas of our health even while managing a busy schedule. This includes physical, mental, spiritual, and social health. We know that if we let one of these areas slip, it’s likely it will impact the others. Check in on what your priorities are in each of these areas and make time to work on these and fit them around your work day. For example: spend more time with family and friends after work, pack a healthy lunch each day, exercise on your lunch break.

Reduce distractions

When you need to focus on a particular task, small actions can make a big difference: turn off your cell phone and email alerts, put in headphones with relaxing music to block out the noise, ask your manager if you can work from a meeting room or from home, block out ‘meetings’ in your calendar with yourself to allow time to get work done.

Take regular breaks

Our bodies and minds need frequent breaks from work and stressful activities. Spend a maximum of 60 minutes on work, and then take a 5–10 minute break in between. This will help you to feel less stressed and be more productive. Get away from your desk or work task on your breaks – take a walk, have a cup of tea, chat with colleagues, climb some stairs. 

Create a "Stop Doing" List

We all have "To-do lists", but what can you eliminate to make room for what energises you and brings you closer to achieving your goals?

Focus on your strengths and achievements

Focus on your core business and your areas of strength. It’s easy to focus too much on the things we feel we still need to work on. Remind yourself about what you’re good at. Recognise all the things you achieve in each day (not all the things you haven’t).

Avoid fighting battles you don't need to win

Pick your battles wisely. In the heat of the moment, stop for a second and think: is this truly worth fighting for?  Can you be content to know that you are right without having to prove someone else wrong?

Leave work at work

Once you leave the office, turn off your phone and email notifications. Work is only one part of your life and once you step out of the office for the day, it’s time to focus on the other important things in your life.