Proper workload management is an essential part in nowadays working environment as the majority of firms expect their employees to increase their productivity in order to cope with more work – but how to beat work overload? What is work overload? Whenever we are confronted with an amount of work that exceeds our humanly possible limit of work we can deal with we are speaking of work overload. Work overload occurs whenever we have too little time for too much work, which constrains us to work way beyond our regular overtime. Work overload can be harmful to us as it causes stress and a lot of pressure, given the fact that it reduces our recovery time between workdays.
How to Deal with Work Overload?
First of all, it is important to spot the reason why we are confronted with a high workload and – if possible – to eliminate the reasons for it. Work overload is not necessarily caused by a flood of work but can be a result of different mistakes committed by ourselves or co-workers. Therefore it is important to ask yourself the question whether you are managing your time as efficient as possible and if you are able to improve your productivity. The following articles can help you to do so:
However, if you come to the solution that neither you nor any other outside influence is causing your workload we can start to discuss techniques that will help you to beat work overload. The majority of companies focus on stress management trainings in order to help their employees to be able to deal with work overload. I, however, believe that stress management techniques focus too much on the effect of stress, by teaching employees how to reduce stress, rather than focusing on the root cause of stress, which is work overload.
1. Set Priorities
Whenever you are confronted with work overload it is important to set yourself priorities and to execute your tasks depending on their importance and urgency. Prioritization helps you to focus on your high-priority tasks that contribute towards your intended output, whereas you can put aside those time intensive tasks that neither are important nor contribute towards to your aimed-at outcome. There are numerous prioritization techniques available, however it might be simple to prioritize tasks from A – very important to C – not important.
2. Control Your Emotions
Something that many people do if they are not used to working with pressure and work overload is that they start panicking and imagine the worst possible outcome. It is very important to control your emotions whenever you are facing such a stressful situation, as these situations do not require emotional responses, but analytical and calm decisions. Stress and fear will only cause you to make careless mistakes, which will increase your workload even further. The way you respond towards stress depends on your mindsets and beliefs.
3. Delegate Work
Many employees consider the delegation of work only as an attempt to shirk responsibility, however at some stage in your career you will have to delegate at least parts of your work as the amount of work you can deal with is limited. Try to delegate time-intensive but relatively easy work to trainees and other tasks that can be easily done by someone with less experience than you have. You can also delegate mundane tasks, which helps you to concentrate on the tasks with the highest outcome for your goals.
4. Organization and Planning
In situations you are confronted with work overload it can be very helpful to create a to-do-list or even an action plan that helps you to get an overview of an allegedly chaotic situation. The difference between a to-do-list and an action plan is that your task-list contains all of your daily goals and tasks and should be complemented and renewed on a daily basis. Action plans are helpful to precise what is necessary to accomplish one of your main goals. However, actions plans are more likely helpful to split your main goals into smaller subgoals and tasks than for long time planning.
5. Elimination of Tasks
Work overload does not only consist of highly important tasks, but also less important or even unnecessary tasks that could save you a lot of time, if cancelled. Try to eliminate as many tasks as possible that are not necessary or do not contribute towards the accomplishment of your goals.
Picture by Lomo-Cam
How do you deal with work overload?