What to do when you’re Overwhelmed at Work

What to do when you’re Overwhelmed at Work


What to do when youre Overwhelmed at Work - Your People Partners

Are you feeling overwhelmed at work and don’t know how to cope?

Maybe your inbox is overflowing, and you wake up at night wondering what to do first when you arrive at the office in the morning.

Take control of your workload before you become burned out.

Start with this checklist for helpful things you can do on your own and with your colleagues to protect your career and your well-being.

Steps to Take on Your Own:

  1. Develop a plan. Taking time out to get organised will help you to work more efficiently in the long run. Figure out your priorities and create systems that save you labor. Write out a detailed to do list and batch similar chores together.
  2. Adjust your expectations. Do you have some tasks that are draining more resources than they are worth? Distinguish between activities where you need to excel and those where doing a good enough job is adequate.
  3. Be mindful. Most experts now believe that multitasking is a myth. Focus on one thing at a time to reduce stress and achieve higher-quality results. You’re not saving time if you have to go back and fix your mistakes.
  4. Take a break. Scheduling frequent breathers helps you to accomplish more too. When you’re working at your computer, remember to stretch and move around about every half hour or so.
  5. Pause between tasks. Another good time to refresh is when you’re switching from one activity to another. Go outdoors for some fresh air or chat with a friend so you start your next project feeling energized.
  6. Rest up. Sleep makes you stronger and more resilient. Try to go to bed at the same time each night, even on weekends. Darken your bedroom and turn off electronic devices at least 2 hours before retiring, so you’ll drop off faster.
  7. Arrive early. Go to the office early instead of staying late. You’ll probably experience fewer distractions and you may complete projects quicker when it’s quiet.
  8. Move on. Do you tend to dwell on last week’s meetings or keep thinking about how you’d like to edit a proposal you already submitted? Switch your attention to what you’re doing now instead of wasting energy on things that can’t be changed.
  9. Try an app. Technology can make your workday easier. In addition to automating tasks when possible, browse online for helpful apps. Many popular productivity tools are free, such as Microsoft’s ToDo and Apple’s Habit Tracker

Steps to Take with Others:

  1. Talk it over. While complaining is likely to make your situation worse, there are benefits in having a constructive conversation with a supportive coworker. Just talking about what you need to do may help clarify your thoughts, and your peers may have useful feedback.
  2. Approach your boss. Your boss may be able to provide assistance too. Think positive and have a proposal in mind before you sit down. You may want to ask for something specific, such as additional training or an assistant.
  3. If you are the boss, make sure you have a tight network for 3-4 fellow business owners that you’re able to rely on for the good and the bad times. They get it. Family or loved ones may not.
  4. Delegate responsibilities. Sort out the responsibilities you need to handle yourself and those you may be able to hand off to another employee. Maybe there are tasks that tie in more closely with someone else’s job description. Are there junior employees who would benefit from taking on extra responsibility?

And if you’re the boss, feel free to talk to Helen on 0117 290 0208 about how you can utilise a specialist tool to work out if and when you delegate and what is it you’ll be delegating.

Many jobs involve occasional busy periods, but if you’re arriving home late five nights a week, it’s time to rethink your approach. Many experts believe that little productive work is accomplished when employees exceed 50 hours a week.

Getting organised and reaching out for help are smart ways to manage your workload and overcome your overwhelm.

Still need help?

If you would like more advice, feel free to get in touch with the team at Your People Partners. We are always here to help.

author avatar
Helen Sanders Managing Director and Chief People Partner
Was this article helpful?
Picture of Report on iPhone - Your People Partners

How do your recruitment processes stack up?

Curious about whether your existing recruitment and retention processes are helping or hindering your company growth? 

This free 4-min quiz will spot the hiring mistakes and give you implementable strategies to more easily grow your team.


Related Articles

22 May 2024
As a small business owner, you wear many hats – and one of the most important is bringing new talent onboard. An effective onboarding program...
Hiring Essentials
13 March 2024
Attracting the right talent for finance and accounting positions in your company is critical for maintaining accurate and robust financial management. An effective job post...
Hiring Essentials
7 March 2024
Imagine you’re at the helm of your own business with a vision that keeps you up at night, excited for the day ahead. Small business...