What to do when you feel overwhelmed?

It wasn’t so long ago that people were saying that the dawning of the electronic age heralded the arrival of more free time and less stress, but it hasn’t quite worked out like that, has it? The internet, email, and mobile phones have meant that, not only are we contactable 24/7, some people seem to think we should be working 24/7 as well! It’s no wonder then that stress related diseases are on the increase and people are feeling that there is no escape, but what can you do when it all starts to get a bit too much for you? Sit back, relax, and read what we have here for you, because we have ten great tips on what to do you feel overwhelmed.

1. Time out!

The very first thing to do when you feel overwhelmed is to call time out, because you are probably starting to panic and that will reduce your productivity and make things worse. You’ve made a good start by getting this far down this article. Now chill out a little and carry on reading and we’ll tell you what to do next.

2. Revisit your timetable

Take a close look at your timetable and your calendar and ask yourself what is essential and what is not. When things start to get on top of you, you start to fire fighting and you flit from one thing to another without really prioritising properly. Be brutal and cut out the things that you don’t really need to do at all and postpone the ones that can wait. Then you will be able to focus on the important tasks and feel more comfortable about leaving the others until later.

3. Take regular breaks

When the work is piling up, it might seem counterintuitive to go for a walk, but it could be the best thing to do. Countless studies have proven that people are far more productive if they take a short break every hour or so. It gives you a chance to clear your head and think things through. You will find that you work far more efficiently and effectively after you have taken a break.

4. Delegate and ask for help

Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, or delegate work to other people. Go through your list of outstanding tasks again and see what you could ask someone else to do for you. If it is your work that is overwhelming you, a good boss will prefer it if you hold up your hands and tell them that you have too much work, than struggle on and miss deadlines, or make mistakes.

5. Learn how to say no

When you have more on your plate than you can cope with, the last thing you want to do is take on more, so next time you are asked, just politely refuse. When you are at work, you might have to ask your boss to prioritise for you and let him decide what gets done and what does not. Don’t fall into the trap of saying yes to everything and then spending all night doing it. If you do keep on doing that, then it will become expected of you and it will happen again.

6. Set your boundaries

However busy you get, you really should set some boundaries and stick to them. Time to yourself, time with your family, and time to relax are all important, so set aside time when you will not let work get in the way of your own happiness. Make those boundaries known to other people as well, so that they have to respect them. If they know that you don’t take work related calls over the weekend, they won’t call you.

7. Set your do not disturb times

When you have to get work done quickly, avoid getting distracted by phone calls, emails and texts. Literally hanging a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your office door might be impractical, but you can still choose not to answer on your phone or open up emails until an important task has been completed.

8. Don’t try to multitask

You may think that you can hold a conversation with colleague and write a report at the same time, but in reality, you are not concentrating on either one of the tasks properly and you are wasting precious time. Focus on just one at task at a time and you will get a lot more done and you will do it better.

9. Accept that you are not superhuman

There are only so many hours in a day and there is nothing you can do to gain more. If job can’t get done, you need to accept that it can’t get done. People don’t expect you to be superhuman, and if you say “sorry, I will be a day late with that”, they will be far more understanding than you think. Whatever you are working on, people will be happier with a good job delivered late, than they will be with a rushed job delivered on time.

10. Get your own personal priorities sorted out

If you feel constantly under pressure and overwhelmed, then it’s time you took a step back and decided what you really want. Constant stress and pressure will eventually take its toll on your health and it will affect your family life too. It could be time to make some big changes and put the really important things in life first.

Stay happy!

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