Job insecurity or worries about income have made many people take up more work than they can manage.
If that’s what you are currently facing, you are not alone.
You don’t have to be rude to your employers or quit your job—sometimes you might need to!
The following practical ways to deal with work overload have been applied with success by some employers.
Embedded are personal experiences of tactics that worked successfully too.
Moreover, how can you deal with stress due to work overload? I’ve outlined that in the last subheading.
How to Deal with Work Overload Excellently
1. Practice Effective Management
I love to analyze jobs that are of high-priority tasks and low-priority tasks. After this analysis, I will now focus on the premium tasks first.
You might think it will be difficult for you to differentiate these two types of tasks, but it doesn’t have to.
Over time, I’ve learned that an honest examination will help distinguish between these two types of tasks.
If you are honest with yourself, you’d know which tasks worth your strength and which ones do not.
When you have completed the analysis, implementation follows!
Hence, when you have an increased task, or it seems you have more than you can finish, take advantage of this effective management skill.
The result? It allows you to finish vital tasks before the deadline.
Upon completion, if you have more time, you could work on the low-priority tasks or eradicate them.
- Honestly examine tasks with high-priority and low-priority
- Be bold enough to scrape off low priority tasks
2. Work on Bad Habits
Yes, you probably guessed right! Those hours spent during the day on little unproductive things waste your time.
I’ve been a victim of reading emails, messages, chatting, checking tweets, and surfing the net.
In my article about procrastination, I revealed that hours gulped by these small actions are more than the time needed to handle some of the high-priority tasks on my list.
Time-wasting habits can’t be the same with everyone. They differ from person to person. Therefore, it’s up to you to find out what actions eat up your tasks.
If you think that will be difficult, here is a pattern for you:
Reflect on how you’ve spent some weeks, a day before, or even hours ago.
If you notice a pattern that is responsible for some time you’ve wasted in the past, that’s a bad habit.
You have to wage war against it!
Another simple suggestion for you is to accumulate the average hour these time-wasting habits have taken from you.
This will clearly shed light on what is holding you from meeting your deadline.
It will help you channel your strength in the right place and avoid work overload.
For students, this approach is very effective. It helps you focus on schoolwork instead of wasting away precious time.
- Track your steps
- Estimate the time each bad habits consumed
- Take the decision and work on eliminating them
3. Always List everything you need to do
If you’ve gone through my about us page, you will notice that I love to keep a journal.
Today, I did the same. I have a belief I hold so dearly: “A day without a list of tasks to be done will eventually be wasted.”
Before you crucify me, this isn’t about you; it’s about me! It’s not an insult to your lifestyle.
This statement has always propelled me to make sure I list tasks I need to accomplish.
Meanwhile, writing down is one thing; highlighting the importance of each task is another.
You can solve that by rating those tasks you have listed.
If it pleases you, you can rate them 0-5. “0” signifies a task or series of least important tasks.
Those with 5 stars are the top priority. When this is done, start working on those tasks one after the other.
As expected, focus on the jobs with the highest priority and cut to the chase.
When you have a list, you are reminded of the little time you have to complete lots of tasks.
If that seems quite intimidating, the next practical way to deal with work overload in the place of work or school comes in handy.
- Make a list daily
- Rate them from 0-5
4. Resist the urge to complete all
Alright! This is one habit that can easily trap you.
For example, a zero rating might have high priority, but it’s not just as important as those with 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 rating.
You think: “I have to do it; it has a deadline.” What’s the way out?
First, admit that you are not a superhero. As long as you weren’t playing when you ought to have worked, admit it!
This feeling, if it wouldn’t let you take things slow, will make you delegate tasks.
You can delegate tasks to mates, family members, and friends who aren’t battling with deadlines like you are.
I always take advantage of this too, and it has relieved me.
In fact, I have learned to leave tasks with someone without micromanaging him or her.
All I do is get the result, vet, and make a few adjustments that need to be done.
If you’ve helped someone handle their tasks in the past, this might also be a good time to ask for their help.
Now you see why you should be willing to help people?
5. Say no in a Juicy Way
C’mon! Saying no doesn’t mean you have to be rude or unprofessional. Here is my personal experience:
Moments after listing my tasking for that day and fixing the priority rating, I received a call.
It was from an older man I highly regard. The request was simple: “Please, come over to my place and let’s tidy up some tasks.”
Tell you what? That day, I didn’t create any space for impromptu tasks. Moreover, I’d have loved that the call came in a day before.
Well, I declined it. How? That’s the interesting part!
First, I made it known that I had already fixed my schedule. Two, I asked if it was REALLY urgent.
Third, I promised to call back in a few minutes to reexamine my time and feed him back.
After the call, I knew I wouldn’t be able to go. So, I waited a while to pull the call across and inform him it wasn’t possible for me.
Yes, I said “no” in a juicy way.
Was he offended? No! Three days later, I fixed the tasks in my schedule, called him, and he said he was about to call me too.
Yeah! We completed the tasks that day.
If your workload is already at the brim, there’s no point in adding more. Even if you do it, the chances are that it won’t be to your taste or that of your boss.
So, stop and think! If you think it will be rude to reject a request outright, calmly ask to call back so you could think of how best to reject the tasks.
When you do, it limits your workload and keeps you focused on essential tasks.
If it’s done politely, your colleagues and employers will understand you better.
- Don’t be in a hurry to say yes or no
- Request for a few minutes to think things through
- Inform the person how busy you are
- Ask how urgent the tasks are
- Offer suggestions that will benefit both parties
- Be as clear as possible, so it doesn’t sound like you are evading the tasks
6. Don’t allow your work to Overwhelm You
While I was writing this article, I went bland. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to write. I was only tired and weak. I needed to rest.
However, this task has a deadline. How do I meet up?
How will I concentrate on giving value and at the same time be in my prime? I did what I know best─I had a short nap!
I moved to a quiet space, away from my desk, and shut my eyes. Since I work remotely, it was easy to find a quiet place to breathe.
A rule of thumb, however, is to breathe in for four seconds and breathe out. Repeat this for 1-3 minutes.
Pay attention to your breath and body as you inhale and exhale.
If done properly, you will start to see that the stress will start to wash off, boosting your productivity, ultimately reducing your stress.
In the long run, your health thanks you!
7. Be an Early Bed
If you are already an early bed, you are a step ahead of those night owls. Oh, Night owls, pardon me, I don’t mean to be rude.
Early beds will arrive at work early. They’ll start work before being welcomed with distractions.
Apart from the freedom from distractions, they are also able to work on their peak priorities.
And lastly, they will get to do more within an hour than they would within 2 hours when they are frazzled.
Are you willing to join the team? Welcome!
If you are adopting this lifestyle, leave work when it’s closing time.
Think about how well you enjoyed the day. Then keep the principle on repeat mode.
So, go home, eat, relax, and get to bed! What’s left undone for that day will be done the next day.
8. Clear off Needless Distractions
I love turning on airplane mode when I’m working on critical activities. That automatically turns off my data. This brings to mind that I do not want to be distracted nor disturbed.
It also prevents me from the bait of multitasking – working and chatting.
For an hour, focus on completing one critical task.
If you think you can, try to get it done early in the morning at work or even at home.
- Put your device on airplane mode or turn off
- Focus on an hour of work without distractions
- Do it early if possible
9. Force yourself to go on Vacation
What’s stopping you from taking a vacation? Do you feel that someone else can’t manage a task well without you?
That’s false! They’ll.
One of the things you owe to yourself is a vacation. Your partner and family need it too. It benefits your family tremendously.
You will find it refreshing to do. In fact, it will help you appreciate the work more.
If you are a company manager, it might be nice to seek trusted individuals to hand over important tasks.
You can now see the effect of teaching and delegating tasks. If you have been doing that before now, you won’t find it timid to do when it’s time for your vacation.
Your employees would have even mastered it so that while you are away, you won’t have to micromanage them.
- Delegate tasks beforehand
- You are not indispensable
- You owe vacation to yourself, family, and friends.
10. Get Promoted or Move out
Oh! I promised I wouldn’t talk about this earlier, but well, it’s taking a different dimension.
Early today, I told a close pal how starters are often loaded with work while those with years of experience enjoy fewer tedious tasks.
That’s the drill. In most cases, at the early stage, you will likely be loaded with work.
Sometimes, no matter how smart you are in applying the techniques discussed above, it will only be better but can’t be solved completely.
So, the right way to move off the treadmill is to be promoted. To do that, network with the right set of people within your industry.
These can be found at your workplace or outside your place of work.
Attend meetings and conferences. Raise your profile.
If you eventually learn that there wouldn’t be an advancement opportunity, move somewhere else.
Remember, your health is worth more than an overloaded job with small remuneration.
Keep in Mind
- Upgrade your profile
- Seek advancement in your career
- Leave for a better place if things aren’t working.
11. Talk to Your Boss about Your Priorities
Sometimes, all that is required of you is a one-on-one discussion with your manager, and that’s it!
When you are meeting him, agree on what your priorities are.
This means he has to understand your objectives and workload.
The primary motive is to get him to agree with these top priorities.
Once he agrees, you can make him realize that you will only prioritize and deliver those you have agreed upon.
Also, it means that you’ll have to ignore or delegate those minor tasks on your desk.
If he finds the idea nice, you might want to show him tasks and what you will like to do with them. (Do it another time, but don’t allow too much time to pass on it)
This time, you might want to let your boss take charge. He might likely have some excellent solutions.
If he doesn’t have one, you could ask: “Can I delegate some tasks to others?”
Are there meetings that are not important for me to attend? All these questions must be discussed openly and calmly.
Suppose you have been stressed from a work overload, what can you do?
Kindly the simple guide explained in the last subheading below. They discuss simple ways to deal with work overload stress.
Dealing with work overload stress
This is how to deal with work overload stress:
It’s time to take a deep breath and do it slowly. Normally, I’ll always get out of my chair.
The usual strategy for me is to go outside and get some fresh breeze. It’s fine to be there for a couple of minutes.
When you are outside enjoying the breeze, take your mind off the work, meditate, unwind, and relax.
Maybe you could even feed your face with laughter on social media. Once you are a bit relieved, you might want to return to the desk.
Once you are back to the desk, review your responsibilities and tasks one after the other.
Yes, this isn’t the time to start where you stopped.
- Always stop and review activities each time you feel overwhelmed.
2. Analyze Each Task
In analyzing the tasks, you will have to go through your tasks one after the other.
Take the needed time to review your agenda.
Ask and answer these questions:
- What is the main goal of our company?
- Do we still have to do this work?
When you can answer these questions, you will assign priorities and organize tasks the right way.
So, the best is to verify the need. How do you verify the need? That takes us to the next step.
3. What Deadline has to be reached?
You might be stressed when you have to meet a deadline. But, when you hit that road, ask yourself, is the deadline feasible?
If it’s not really feasible, can it be postponed? And if the date can’t be changed, can someone help me out on that?
Find answers to these questions and do the needful.
4. What are the Final Objective and Results for Each Task?
To effectively carry out a task and be free from stress, you need to know the objectives.
For instance, a client’s presentation isn’t the same as the presentation for an internal meeting.
Understanding the objectives and results will relieve you of the time you’d have wasted.
5. Take the Next action
When stressed, break up tasks into small steps. Write down steps you are clear about.
Do not always exclude this each time you work. Always jot down your ideas.
It’s needed to know if you’d have to delegate the tasks, do it later, or even get it done right away.
- Is there also information you simply need to research on or what you need is to ask questions?
- Do you need time to think things through?
Doing this averts you from the stress of thinking that you are at fault when really you aren’t.
If you’ve done your part and you are just simply waiting for others in the department to complete their tasks, label those tasks “waiting for others.”
So this takes your mind off the topic so you can focus on the right channel.
6. Get an Overview
The moment you have reviewed your project, look at them from a broader perspective.
Questions like: Do I know which issues are urgent and important? Am I really the right person to do the tasks? Can help be asked for instead of handling it alone?
If you have doubts about these questions, ask your boss for clarifications. The call for this meeting will briefly clarify doubts.
You might insist on delegating some if you are sure it will be the best approach.
7. Schedule the Tasks
With the clearer understanding you have gained, a new agenda needs to be opened.
This will take into account deadlines and priorities. Schedule a reasonable task to be accomplished for that day.
Create a reminder for tasks that have to be done or information that needs to be requested on a specific day.
8. Here Comes Relief
After doing all these, you should experience a clearer head and feel less stressed.
You will be more committed and energized to do other tasks.
Finally, the recommendations we have just considered are for folks who have stress due to work overload.
These techniques also blend perfectly with the earlier tactics discussed on how to deal with work overload.
Do you think you are now in a better position to deal with work overload? That’s fine!
Applying one or two of these techniques discussed in this article can help you retain your sanity, free you from burnout, and improve your productivity.
You might not need to explore all the techniques discussed. Just pick one or two and implement it.
If decently applied, you will always get ahead as you would do more work, and tasks wouldn’t keep piling up.
Go on and implement all these 11 points on how to deal with work overload and 8 ways to deal with stress from work overload.
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