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Three effective strategies to deal with overwhelm at work

Here we are back into routine after the holiday season.

I find it amazing how quickly people are feeling overwhelmed already.

I understand. It often feels like you are caught in a storm of tasks and deadlines.
That’s normal.

So, today I have three great strategies for you to deal with overwhelm at work.

1. Stop doing other people’s work 

During a workshop this week, several leaders confessed that they do their direct report’s work to “protect them” from being overwhelmed. So, I asked these leaders, “How is that working for YOU?”. They unanimously agreed that this strategy is not sustainable as they are getting burned out. An alternative is to create a delegation strategy or discuss workload issues with your team and create a plan to address timelines and priorities.

2. Use the BUFFER technique. 

Think of “buffer time” as a cushion between your tasks and meetings. Instead of cramming your schedule to the brim, block off time in your calendar to deal with unexpected issues or to complete some items on your to-do list. A great way to use buffer time is to make your meetings 45 minutes instead of an hour. This allows you to have 15 minutes of buffer time to complete emails, answer texts etc. before your next meeting.

3. Flex your “no” muscle.

I know that many leaders agree to take on more work when their plate is already full. Some people feel like they won’t be seen as a team player if they say “no.” However, there are ways to politely say no or set some boundaries. For example, instead of saying, “No, I can’t help you this week!” – You could say, “I’m happy to help you. My schedule is full this week. Can you set up a meeting next week to discuss this task?”. Now that approach feels more win-win.

While overwhelm at work is a common challenge, it is essential that you take proactive steps to address it.

Which one of these strategies resonates most for you?

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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