Overwhelmed at work? The truth of the matter is that there are only seven days in a week and 24 hours in a day.
And it’s easy for a lot of businesses to forget this fact when they are being pressured by customers/clients or there is a genuine opportunity to generate further revenue.
Taking on too much work can lead to mental illnesses and forms of stress.
In fact, according to one study, around 44% of employees have quit a job due to stress and 75% have experienced it in some form or another over the course of the year.
These are some startling stats that not only highlight a growing issue in the UK, but also reveal that candidates aren’t alone in feeling this way.
If this sounds like something you’re experiencing right now, you may want to take a look at some of our top tips for handling your workload.
Establish your trigger points
Stress doesn’t usually occur sporadically.
Instead, it’s often a culmination of negative things that spiral out of your control.
Once your mind starts to feel overwhelmed, you start to get agitated, are prone to making more mistakes and can feel upset.
As a starting point, you need to establish and understand what your triggers are.
Ask yourself, what has made you feel this way?
Is it an influx of work with an unrealistic deadline? Do you think that there’s a bad work culture which isn’t providing you with the support you need?
Career psychologist, Diana Dawson says:
“Feeling overwhelmed is actually a stress response when we feel the demand on us outweighs our resources”.
“Keeping a journal of thoughts, feelings and actions can help you identify what causes this reaction. Once we understand what triggers the stress, we can perhaps understand why that is and we can build strategies around those things.”
Anxiety is a growing issue today, but you shouldn’t have to feel like that if you’re dealing with too much work.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your manager, speak to a close colleague or trade union representative to see if they can help you reach the finish line quicker.
Understandably, when you’re pushing for a promotion or want to make an impression, you don’t always want to admit that you’re struggling to your senior.
However, is hitting all your deadlines and creating a poor piece of work really going to help you leave the impression you want anyway?
It’s a glaringly obvious addition to the list of how to handle your workload, but it’s one a lot of employees struggle with.
As a child, we’re often taught to say yes to everything in order to be accepted and not rejected. However, in a working scenario, this could land you in a spot of deep water.
Failing to hit deadlines after saying you would, might make you look unreliable and incapable to an employer.
If you have to remember anything from your childhood, always being honest should be it.
If you’re a freelancer, it may even work in your favour, as it’ll tell an employer that you’re in high demand.
(You can find out more about what it takes to become a freelancer in our previous blog.)
Taking a break when you’re dealing with an unmanageable workload may seem bonkers, but it can make a huge difference — especially if you’re looking at a screen all day.
According to psychologist, life coach and author, Gary Wood:
“Stress actually closes off the more creative parts of our cognitive processes and also distorts our perception of time”.
“The temptation is to work without breaks. The reality is that it depletes our resources and we process things more slowly and make more mistakes. The brain likes breaks.”
It’s a similar principle when you do too much exercise.
If you don’t take a day off, you’re not allowing your muscles to rest and recover, which could lead to injury.
Doing exercise at a higher intensity level every other day is a lot better than putting in half the effort but doing it every day.
So take a break from your desk and recharge your batteries. Your brain and clients will thank you for it.
Write things down
A top tip that I use myself is to write little lists on sticky notes.
Granted, this may look a tad messy on your desk, but it allows your brain to gain a better understanding of the bigger picture.
Sometimes when you don’t see a finish line in sight, your brain starts to feel overwhelmed by all the other deadlines you need to hit.
Write it down, plan your days accordingly and you’ll make it to the end of the week.
When it comes to handling your workload, the most important tip to remember is to think about what’s ahead.
It may not feel like it, but the weekend will arrive.
You can only work as fast as you can. Always keep that in mind and be honest with your employers — you’ll feel a lot better for it in the long-run.
However, if you do feel like your job is becoming too stressful, don’t be afraid to leave.
Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side.
For advice on how to professionally hand your notice in, check out our blog: ‘8 Simple Steps to Help You Hand in Your Notice’.
Enjoyed reading this? Then feel free to check out more of our careers and job search advice over at our blog.