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How to stop feeling so overwhelmed at work

https://www.fastcompany.com/90357930/how-to-stop-feeling-so-overwhelmed-at-work

fastcompany.com

How to stop feeling so overwhelmed at work
There are days where work just seems like it's closing in on all sides. Your boss has a new deadline for you. Your to-do list stretches on to infinity, and there is a constant stream of Slack messages distracting you every two seconds. When you feel overwhelmed like this, it is hard to get work done.

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When you’re feeling overwhelmed

You have so many things going on, that it is hard to concentrate on any one of them, and so you get less productive. The trick is to get yourself back in the sweet spot of the curve where yo...

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Reduce your energy

If you’re actively feeling overwhelmed you first need to calm downClose your eyes for a minute. Focus on breathing deeply. Count your breaths. An altern...

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Focus

Start by finding a high-priority task that you feel you can complete in a short period of time. Clear the decks for action and put away any other distractions.

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Offload, if necessary

If you find that you’re being given new things to do at a faster rate than you can possibly complete them, then it is time to sit down with your supervisor and talk. There...

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Start with a clean plate

If your plate were completely clean, with limited space, what would you put on it today?

Once you’ve figured that out, you know what belongs on your plate. Constantly look at invitations and activities and requests and tasks that pop up, and ask: “Is this one of the things I would choose to put on my clean plate?” 

Learn to say “NO”

Feeling like you’re doing busywork is often the result of saying yes too often.  We have to let go of this idea of doing everything and pleasing everyone and being everywhere at once.

Properly manage your yeses.  So stop saying “yes” when you want to say “no.” Sometimes you have to set clear boundaries.

3 Core things

Focus on no more than three core things every day. 

Wake up every morning and figure out what the most important two or three things are for the day, and cut out the rest. Give each some allotted time instead of switching tasks.

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The signs of burnout

  • You dread going to work in the morning.
  • You show up late or find reasons to leave early.
  • You feel bored or don’t want to engage with the work when you’re there.
  • You’re complaining about work a lot.
  • You check your work email first thing in the morning and before you go to bed.
  • You plan all your vacations, so you are always available in case they suddenly need you.
  • You’re having frequent work dreams and nightmares.

Find friends outside of work

If your only friends are your friends at work, it'll be more challenging to avoid work on evenings and weekends. If you do have coworkers as close friends, consider setting some boundaries around work talk.

Try to avoid getting drawn into office drama, as it will increase the time you spend talking and thinking about work.

Speak up

Speak up when your workload is too much. Tell your boss if you are stretched too thin or when you regularly work too many hours. Talk about what you can reasonably get done in a week.

Also, don't say yes to everything. If you have a hard time saying no, don't respond immediately. Instead say, "Let me get back to you", or, "Let me think about that."

Constraints and productivity

If you make work a scarcer quantity, you’re more likely to use time wisely and get things done than if it feels like an endless to-do list.

And you cand do this by restricting your hours or restricting your workload.

Time vs workload

  • Restricting hours: set aside a certain chunk of time for work and don’t work outside of it. For example, the Pomodoro technique for working in short bursts of time.
  • Restricting workload: instead of deciding on a set number of hours, you decide on a set number of tasks. 

Constraining time

The biggest advantage of constraining time is that it’s always unambiguous. If you decide to work for three hours and then stop, there’s no confusion there.

Disadvantage: time constraints can encourage a sloppier attitude towards work. For example, you might decide to spend all day studying in the library—but without tasks to constrain your productivity, you end up checking your phone.