Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How to Handle Being Overwhelmed at Work

Work can turn into a nightmare when too much is on your plate. Having too much to do and not enough time to finish it is a common complaint from workaholics, which ultimately leads to the feeling of being overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed at work is stressful and this would be the perfect time to ask coworkers and bosses for help. However, many workers stay silent in their overwhelmed state and try to deal with it on their own, for fear of coming off as weak or unorganized. Having a lot of work and tight deadlines is a lot of pressure that people crack under and thus miss their deadlines, perform poorly and strain themselves mentally and physically. There are ways to lessen the heavy workload. You don’t have to always be on the run! By having the proper prioritization and time management skills, being overwhelmed will become a feeling of nightmare’s past.

Prioritize
Figure out what the most important task is that you need to be doing right now. You can probably narrow down your list to a few, but narrow that list even further until you just have one. Focusing on what is important first will ensure that you accomplish the most important tasks first and on time. You can determine what tasks are the most important by recognizing which tasks offer low risks versus high risks. A high risk task is one that has a definite deadline and you know if you pass it there will be bad consequences. Tasks such as responding to non-urgent emails or accomplishing tasks with a flexible deadline can be considered low value tasks that can be done after you accomplish your high value tasks.

Time Management
When you’re overwhelmed, there never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything it is you have to do in a day. You can stretch your time though by organizing it. Make to-do lists for each day. Prioritize the list by the most important thing you need to do that day to the least. Cross off everything you get done that day. There’s no satisfaction like the kind you get striking out a to-do item. Set yourself reminders for approaching deadlines and meetings to ensure you make use of your time beforehand to prepare for them.

Take Breaks
Part of time management is guaranteeing you have time to yourself. You may feel compelled to eat your lunch at your desk while trying to get work done, but if you don’t take a break away from your work and your office for the day you’ll end up feeling drained. Taking a short walk or going out for lunch will re-energize you and boost your mood. You’ll recharge and be able to get more done.

Avoid Distractions
If you want to seriously get tasks done, then it’s important you get rid of distractions. Let your coworkers know when you’re working, so they don’t disturb you. Make a specific time when you set your calls to voicemail to avoid having to pick up phone calls. Having zero distractions will ensure that you get your work done. If you do get distracted, learn how to bounce back into your work groove. Many times when we get distracted we find it hard to concentrate back on our work, but if you become determined you can bounce back in no time to crunch out work with efficiency.

Ask for Help
If you’re doing all you can to relieve your stress from your workload and you still feel like you have too much to do, then it’s time to ask for help. You can ask coworkers to help you on a task or assign a quick task to a coworker. You may also need to let your boss know how you’re feeling and they can assign you fewer assignments. You need to recognize your limits and let your boss know. It’s not worth it to take on so much if you can’t give the amount of effort you wish you could.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Job Traq

Hanna Guerrero

Hannah is an intern writer here at Spark Hire. She is from the northern suburbs in Chicago and is currently studying journalism at DePaul University. She has always had a passion for writing which is why Journalism has proven to be the perfect career for her. She has written for the DePaulia Online on various topics such as fashion, music, movies and television. She loves living in Chicago because it offers exciting events to write stories on. In her free time she enjoys going to music concerts, watching movies with friends, cooking vegetarian food and walking her adorable Cocker Spaniel Coco.