4 Steps To Stop Overwhelm At Work And Get On Top Of Your Workload

Today I want to explore with you how to stop overwhelm at work. There is nothing worse than feeling stressed at work by looming deadlines and an impossible workload. This is a recipe for burn-out.  

But when you are able to get on top of your workload and have realistic deadlines, you feel calmer and more in control. This brings you a feeling of accomplishment which in turns improves your confidence.  So how do we turn things around?

Step 1: Stop overwhelm at work

First things first, you need to stop the feeling of overwhelm. I have 2 superfast methods to do this: breathing and tapping.

Breathing

I already shared my go to breathing exercise with you this week in my article 6 Infallible Hacks To Use When You Feel Down At Work so I invite you to check it out for the details. If you need a quick fix right now, just follow along to this video:  

Tapping

Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), is one of the most efficient ways I have found so far to bring you peace fast. My tapping guru is Brad Yates. He has an amazing YouTube channel with more than a thousand short tapping videos that you can follow along whenever you are in a crisis.

Here is a video targeting exactly today’s topic: feeling overwhelmed by having too much to do:     

Step 2: Set up your strategy

Once you have found calm again you can plan your work from a logical place. I love using the Eisenhower matrix to organise my work.

Now that you know what to do and when, block the time in your diary and do not allow anyone to move anything, apart from your boss or the CEO. You know who you shouldn’t say no to, but this list should be small. Don’t allow just anyone to dictate how you spend your time because you will never get your head out of the water if you do that.   

Step 3: Focus is key

The next step is to get on with it. Now the issue is that to be productive you need quiet, and you need energy.

Get in the zone

I love the advice from Tim Ferriss and Cal Newport on how to really get in the zone, cut the distractions and get some deep work done.

What works best for me:

  • Block the time in my diary so it shows me as being in a meeting
  • Put my personal phone on do not disturb and out of sight
  • Put the work instant messaging service on do not disturb – this prevents people from messaging me and calling me
  • Close my inbox – that’s a tough one, I still have resistance with this, but I get great results when I do it
  • Light a candle – not allowed at work of course, but always doing it when working from home
  • Put some deep focus music on in the background
If you are enjoying this article, you might enjoy this one too:  How To Stay Sane Working From Home

Energy

Ideally you want to do deep work when your energy is at its peak. For more on this topic and how you can harness your energy, I invite you to read the article I published yesterday on Whether You Should Structure Your Day Or Go With The Flow.

When I combine both of these strategies, I work twice as fast as usual. I am always amazed at how quickly I get things done when I am in the zone and in flow with my energy.  

Step 4: Stay on top of it

The trick to staying in this happy vibe of calm and productivity is to use these methods consistently. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be days where you feel like you have too much on your plate, but it means you will handle those days much better.

Personally, I look at my workload for the week every Monday morning and use the Eisenhower matrix to organise my week. Of course, there will be emergences thrown at me throughout the week that weren’t in the Monday morning plan, but these will be easier to handle one at a time when the rest is under control.

I don’t wait to feel overwhelmed to use these techniques. Instead, I use these techniques so that I don’t get overwhelmed.  

4 Steps to stop overwhelm at work and get on top of your workload – key take-aways

  1. Stop the feeling of overwhelm using your breath or tapping to find your calm
  2. Set up a strategy to get the work done
  3. Find focus to get on with the work
  4. Stay on top of it to set yourself to win  

Try these simple hacks and let me know how you get on

Do you have other tips to stop overwhelm at work? What works well for you? I’d love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments.

Further resources

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

This article is part of the series Happier At Work, which you can find here.

And remember, happiness is a choice, and you are in charge!

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