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Feeling Overwhelmed at Work: Reasons and What to Do

What your desk looks like if you're overwhelmed at work

Being overloaded with work can lead to mental and physical exhaustion. That can make you depressed and even result in health issues. Having a positive attitude about your job makes it more pleasant. But it’s difficult to be in that state of mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed at work.

Your situation is unlikely to change unless you take action. But first, it’s important to identify the possible reasons you’re overwhelmed at work because only then can you decide to take the appropriate action to make the work environment more enjoyable.

You need to know the reasons you’re in an overwhelming work environment, how to not get overwhelmed at work, and the options to consider that can lead to higher job satisfaction.

Reasons You’re Feeling Overwhelmed at Work

Problems at work can spill over into your social life and make you less desirable to women because you’re in bad mood. That might be one of the reasons you’re not getting laid.

You need to improve your mood ASAP by finding the root of the problem. It’s likely that you’re overwhelmed by work because of one or several of these 10 reasons:

  • You want to please the boss - it’s normal for you to want to make a good impression by delivering high-quality work. The problem arose when you agreed to take on all the workload that your employer requested.

This usually happens when you’re new in a company and want to prove yourself. But once you’ve set the standard of delivering high quantity and quality of work, you’re held to it. Your employer has likely tested your limits by adding more work, and you felt pressured to take it on to avoid disappointing him/her.

  • Taking on your colleagues’ work - they’re everywhere—colleagues who pass work on to others. It’s possible that you may need them to do their part before you can complete your tasks, but they slack.

Or, your superior passed on bits and pieces of his/her work and made it seem as if it’s your responsibility. It feels like you’re doing work for two people.

  • Not having enough time - a high-intensity workplace expects quality and quantity. It’s usually impossible to deliver both because delivering quality requires time. Many bosses don’t understand that quality needs to be sacrificed in favor of quantity.

If you’re facing this scenario, you want to deliver quantity and quality. So you rush while trying to be meticulous. And it causes you stress.

  • Lack of resources - you need all the tools and support necessary to complete a task. Not having efficient software, effective tools, or strong leadership to fulfill your role can lead to frustration and resentment.

Stressed out because he's taking on other people's work

Over time, it can become unbearable for you to work in such conditions.

  • Disorganized process - being uncertain of your role and how your duties and tasks fit within the production chain can cause a disorganized process. It’s possible that you’re uncertain of how to complete a task and don’t know who to ask for support.
  • Bombarded with urgent tasks - just when you’re about to complete one task, your boss asks you to stop immediately and start another one that is a priority. The list of urgent tasks keeps piling up, but you constantly need to return to the previous one after completing the current one.
  • Not being notified of important tasks - on the other end of the spectrum is not being informed of the important tasks. You have enough work to fill up the day, so you start the first task. In the middle of the day, your boss asks you, ‘How far are you with the other task?’

You’re stunned and can’t believe your ears. You haven’t even started with that task because you didn’t know its importance, but the boss expects it to be completed soon.

  • Delegated work outside of your job description - your duties are clearly stated in the contract, and you fulfill them without any problems. But more duties, which were not agreed to upfront, keep cropping up.

And the worst is that you’re pressured into completing them, otherwise made to feel like you’re not a team player.

  • Too many deadlines -  having too many deadlines to complete at once can make you feel like you’re all over the place, trying to cover all the bases. You’re juggling too many tasks. It seems like you’ll never complete all of them, but the deadline is approaching.
  • Not possessing the skills - you were promoted to a position or employed to do tasks uncommon for your profession without receiving training. Being unfamiliar with tasks may require you to exert effort to figure them out.

You have to dedicate more time than normal to complete a task, and the stress of not completing it correctly looms over you.

What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed at Work

Not addressing the issues causing you to feel overwhelmed at work can create a hostile work environment. It can lead you to submit subpar work and may even result in you being fired for poor performance or having a bad attitude.

To improve your work environment, consider taking these actions:

Air your grievances

The only way your boss can know about your work problems is if you inform him/her about them. Discussing the issues will enable your boss to make the necessary changes required for you to deliver the highest standard of work you’re capable of.

By having support, resources, training, and direction, you should eliminate a lot of the issues associated with an overwhelming work environment.

This discussion shouldn’t be a once-off. All the issues may not be resolved at once, especially if there are many. Keep raising them along the way so that they are addressed.

It’s important for you to know how to tell your boss you’re overwhelmed. Find out when your boss has free time so that you have ample time to discuss your issues without interruptions.

Instead of complaining about things you’re unsatisfied with, tell your boss the changes needed to be implemented so that you can deliver outstanding work.

Map out your day

Setting a schedule

Keeping all the tasks you need to complete in your head can bog you down. Just thinking about them can give you a headache. Instead, write them on paper. By having all the tasks in front of you, it’s easier to prioritize them. That’s slightly more difficult to do when they’re all jumbled up in your head.

Writing the tasks can feel as if you’re unloading them from your mind. After completing one task, you can cross it off. That will make you feel you’re progressing, which can serve as motivation to attack the next task.

Prioritize the most important and difficult task. Once that is out of the way, your day should progress fairly quickly as the easier tasks provide you with momentum to make the remainder of the day smooth sailing.

You can also break up one task into smaller tasks and allocate a specific time. By adhering to the set duration, you’re likely to complete the task on time.

Set boundaries

You’re expected to do your share but not more than that. It’s not right for your colleagues to pass their work on to you. Your boss shouldn’t overload you with work or expect you to complete duties outside of your job description.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work because of unreasonable requests, you need to learn to say, “No.” By drawing the line, you communicate with your peers what you deem to be unacceptable.

Your response doesn’t have to be rude or arrogant, but it must be firm so they understand the boundaries that cannot be crossed.

The way you set dating and relationship boundaries, you should do the same at work.

Take some time off

Going on vacation to de-stress

Continuous work over prolonged periods can take its toll on you. It’s important to take a step back once in a while and remove yourself from a certain environment. That could mean taking a long weekend or a vacation.

Use the majority of your free time for hobbies, hooking up with women, and spending time with family. A small portion of that time should be allocated to thinking about adjusting your schedule and workload.

The time away from work will be therapeutic and may be enough for you to have a whole new outlook on your tasks.

Otherwise, it can also be an opportunity to consider alternatives…

Find a new job

You’ve exhausted all the options and not much has changed. You’re still feeling overwhelmed by work, and you can’t see the light. Some companies are so deeply rooted in their ways that significant change is unlikely to materialize.

In such cases, it’s time to look for greener pastures. This could be the perfect opportunity to reassess your career and possibly explore job opportunities in different industries.

If you enjoy your work, you could restructure the workload on your terms. That may involve offering your services as a contractor or part-time.

The more relaxed schedule will provide you with time to meet women, hang out with the guys and rest.

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