Getting Workplace Overwhelm Under Control:

Phrases like “getting hit with one thing after another,” “I’m barely keeping my head above water,” and “don’t feel like I’m getting anything done” are all used to describe the sense of overwhelm. These are common things to hear within the workplace. Getting workplace overwhelm under control is important. Here are some ways to help deal with those feelings.

Design Your Week – A good first step is to gain control of your schedule. Think about what the ideal week would be and start from there. Some common things to include in a weekly schedule are getting together with friends, planning healthy meals, exercising, designating one night a week to work late, and more relaxation. Looking at a schedule by week, rather than day, is an easier way to gain control since a single day is much more likely to get derailed from the unexpected.

Create a Shutdown Routine – Often feeling overwhelmed makes people focus on what is left to do rather than everything that has already been accomplished. Establishing a routine that recognizes progress and brings the workday to a close. It could be something simple like taking a few minutes to write down what has been completed during the day. Others like to closeout the day by cleaning their desk, reviewing their calendar for the next day. The most important part of the shutdown routine is making sure not to worry about work after the routine is completed.

Give Yourself a Break – When feeling overwhelmed, it can be hard to justify taking a break. Many people feel like they can’t take a break if there is more work to be done especially if they feel behind. However, taking a small break is actually more beneficial then continuing to power through all the work. Giving your brain and body a break is valuable. Creating a break list, in the same fashion as a to do list, is a good practice. A comprehensive break list can be broken down into five categories: micro breaks, moving breaks, nature breaks, social breaks, and mental breaks. Examples of these types of breaks are taking a five minute walk every hour, walk to the kitchen to refill an empty water bottle, meet a friend for a quick coffee or walk, have a quick 5-10 minute catch up phone call, or simply step away from the computer or desk.

By incorporating these into a routine greatly helps getting workplace overwhelm under control. While the amount tasks that need to be completed may not decrease, feelings of stress and anxiety should decrease and make the workplace more enjoyable.


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