Monday, February 3, 2020

3 Ways to Stop Feeling so Overwhelmed at Work

We're barely into 2020, and a lot of you are feeling overwhelmed at work.

You had such great plans for this year. You were going to get organized. You were going to network with those in other departments. You were going to come up with an innovative idea and present it to the boss.

So far, the most you've accomplished is whittling your inbox down to less than 300 unanswered emails and finally removed the rotting coffee grounds from your coffee cup.

You don't feel like you've accomplished anything meaningful and that feeling of being overwhelmed is growing. Is it time to look for another job? A new career? A new coffee cup?

First, keep in mind that before you take any such actions, you need to realize that you're not the only one feeling overwhelmed. A Gallup poll finds that of 7,500 full-time employees, some 23 percent say they are feeling burned out at work very often or always while another 44 percent report feeling burned out sometimes. That means that a lot of people aren't feeling like they've got it all figured out.

Second, there are strategies you can use to help you feel better about your job and your career. Just because you don't feel super successful right now doesn't mean that you can't turn things around and jumping ship isn't always the smartest decision (especially if you're going to wind up feeling just as overwhelmed in the next job).

Here are some ideas to try:

1. Remember that you're not alone. I've been covering the workplace for a long time, and the one thing I always hear is this: "I thought I was the only one who felt this way. I thought I was the only one going through this." Nope. You're not. Not everyone has it together, and if they do, you can bet they're covering up things that aren't working. That's OK. Just know that you're not the only one who feels overwhelmed.

2. Grab some control. It can feel pretty terrible to look at your "to do" list for the day or the week and realize you didn't get any of it done. When this happens, you can start to lose your confidence. So, set your phone timer for 15-30 minutes. Ignore your emails and texts and phone calls. Instead, focus on getting one thing done. That will help you feel more on track and give you the confidence you need to tackle something bigger.

3. Get help. It's no secret that workers are being asked to do more than ever before. Employees have to act as their own office managers, travel agents, tech gurus, communications strategists, marketing analysts and a host of other things that used to be divvied among other people. Stop making yourself crazy by trying to do it all. Ask people you work with what strategies they use. Tap into your network and ask, "What tools do you use to stay organized?" You may not only get some great ideas from other people, but you may also find that they offer support to help you feel less alone and overwhelmed.

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