Has a Heavy Workload Got You Down?
Easy cures for the overburdened
Have you been asked to do more at work with fewer resources? Are you overwhelmed trying to figure out how you will do it all? Are you hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel but have a feeling that there is none?
Today, many of us are carrying a heavier workload than we used to, and we are feeling the crunch. A few years ago, we were busy, but not like this. The economy continues it downward spiral, and not only have we been asked to do more with less, but we are afraid that if we don’t keep up, we may be included in the next round of layoffs.
You might not be able to control your workload, but you can control how you react to it. You can choose to be overwhelmed, or you can choose to accept where you are today, while taking steps to improve your situation.
1. Know that you’re not alone. With layoffs and cutbacks, everyone is feeling the pressure. Knowing that you are not alone can give you the strength to continue. It also alleviates the internal question of why everyone else seems to be handling their workload better than you. Everyone is busy. But what you choose to do about your busy-ness is up to you.
2. Prioritize and plan. You can only do so many tasks at one time, so it makes sense to focus on what is really required. Before you leave each evening, write down the top three priorities that need to be accomplished the next day. In addition, write down one step that will get you started for each item. You might not feel like doing this at the end of your day–you are tired, you want to go home, etc.–but the reward is easy-to-follow direction and focus when you begin work the next morning. Why wing it? Set yourself up powerfully so you can win.
3. Delegate or eliminate. After you have prioritized, take a look at what you need to accomplish. Is there anything that can be delegated to someone else or removed from your day? This will be tricky. You will have to get creative and come up with a good reason that you are no longer the best person to perform these tasks. Will you be more productive if you eliminate this portion of your job? Is the company losing money by keeping the process in place? Come up with what would be in it for the company if you were to delegate some of your responsibilities.
4. Become the solution. What strategies can you come up with to solve the workload problem? What processes can you make a part of your day to help things run smoother? Finding a solution will not only energize you, it will give you a sense of power and control over your situation.
5. Take good care of yourself. Your most important priority right now (and always!) is you. You cannot complete the projects you have on your plate unless you take care of yourself first. Take breaks during the day if you can. Try to leave your thoughts about work at the office. Bring healthy foods into work with you every day, and drink lots of water. Don’t be surprised if you see a shift in your attitude just by incorporating these simple practices.
6. Remember that it won’t be like this forever. We all have our good days and bad days, and this, too, shall pass. When you look back at difficult situations, you’ll realize that they happened for a reason. What do you think you are learning or need to learn from this situation? What have you been avoiding or resisting that you can’t overlook anymore? Use this lesson to empower yourself and those around you.
Deborah Brown-Volkman is the president of Surpass Your Dreams, Inc., a successful career-, life- and mentor-coaching company, based on Long Island, New York. She is the author of several books, including How to Feel Great at Work Every Day and Coach Yourself to a New Career.