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How to take control of a workload when you’re feeling overwhelmed

By Belinda Lyone, General Manager of COS

Feeling overwhelmed by your workload is a common, mortifying feeling. It’s easy to get caught up and take on much more than what could be handled, especially if you really care and are invested in you work.

When valuable time is wasted stressing over imminent deadlines, incomplete tasks start to pile up. It’s beneficial to take a moment and address the situation before the work tasks get too out of control.

Here are five simple steps to stay organised in taking control of an overwhelming workload.

  1. Prioritising a to-do list

Scheduling is a great approach when there are numerous tasks to be completed as it enables the workload to be put into a clear perspective. A good strategy of making a list includes organising and prioritising the more time-sensitive tasks to ensure all the deadlines are met.

A to-do list gives a sense of order and direction needed to complete all the challenging projects and to get the little tasks done first to reduce the overall workload. If this is still difficult, breaking down projects into smaller, more manageable tasks can still ensure little milestones to be achieved on the list.

  1. Be proactive in staying on track

If sticking to a to-do list is difficult, it’s time to start being proactive when it comes to staying on track. Making a habit of consistently referring to a calendar or schedule is useful to staying proactive.

Day-to-day reminders around the workspace can help you keep up with the looming deadlines. Setting alerts on the computer, writing tasks on post-it notes or keeping a paper planner by the desk can also be helpful for quick reminders of tasks that need to be completed.

  1. Don’t suffer in silence

When tasks start to become unmanageable, don’t suffer alone. It’s important to remember that being a member of the workplace also means being part of a team.

If it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay on top of overwhelming responsibilities, it may be time to talk to a supervisor about the workload and prioritise finding a practical solution.

This conversation may be daunting so ensure there is a detailed to-do list of the tasks needs completing. Talking to a supervisor and explaining what needs to be accomplished gives the supervisor a clear idea of what needs to be done.

  1. Take a break and put things into perspective

Feeling overwhelmed at work can result in unnecessary stresses and a moment of panic. Therefore, taking a step back from the work desk can put the tasks into perspective. Taking a quick walk around the block, a tea break or even a short break can help alleviate pressure.

Practicing mindfulness techniques can also help people stuck in a rut. While this can’t resolve the situation, these techniques can improve productivity and proactivity in getting back on track and managing the stress.

  1. Learn to say no

It’s important to recognise when to say no in the workplace.

Many people tend to believe that if they do not obey, then they will be rejected. This results in people taking on more work than what could be handled, allowing their existing responsibilities to suffer.

If the task does not fall under the job description, it does not align with the short- or long-term goals, or there are already too many tasks to be completed, then it is crucial to prioritise and be honest about the tasks that can and cannot be committed to.

The unnecessary stress of an incomplete to-do list is often where the most time is wasted. These tips can enable a better management of responsibilities and can allow a degree of control on completing the workload.

About COS

COS is Australia’s largest privately owned office products supplier, servicing over 20,000 business customers across Australia and offering thousands of products used in today’s modern workplace including technology, kitchen and cleaning, furniture, print and promotional items, and office supplies. COS supports organisations of all sizes by making the selection and delivery of office supplies easy, streamlined and cost effective, allowing organisations to remain focused on business critical activities. (www.cos.net.au)

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Loren Webb

Loren Webb

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