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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article14 December 2023European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion2 min read

What to do when you feel overwhelmed at work

In today’s fast-paced world of work, it is common to feel overwhelmed by the pressure to meet deadlines, handle multiple tasks, and maintain high productivity levels. Here, we share some strategies to help you cope.

What to do when you feel overwhelmed at work

Prioritise and organise

One of the first steps to managing an overwhelming workload is to prioritise your tasks. Identify the most critical and time-sensitive jobs, and focus on completing them first.

Break down larger projects into smaller, more manageable items, creating a roadmap for yourself to follow. Ticking an item off can provide a boost of satisfaction, motivating you to continue working towards your end goal.

Utilise tools like to-do lists, calendars and project management apps to stay organised and track your progress.

Set realistic goals

It is important to set realistic goals for yourself, and communicate to your colleagues and/or clients if a request that they make is not achievable. Establishing realistic goals and managing expectations will help to reduce your stress and enhance your overall job satisfaction.

Learn to delegate

Lighten your burden and contribute to a more collaborative work environment by delegating appropriate tasks to colleagues. Effective delegation not only distributes the workload more evenly, but also promotes teamwork and skill development among team members.

Manage your time

Effective time management is crucial for dealing with an overwhelming workload. Break your day into focused work sessions, and allocate specific time slots to different tasks. Use techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for a set period and then take short breaks. This approach can increase productivity and prevent burnout.

Take breaks and practice self-care

Taking regular breaks throughout the day is essential for maintaining your focus and productivity. You could step away from your desk to go for a short walk, or take a moment to practice deep-breathing exercises and clear your mind. Additionally, prioritise self-care activities like exercise, good sleep hygiene, and doing your favourite hobbies to help you manage stress and maintain your overall wellbeing.

Establish boundaries

In today's digital age, it is easy to be constantly connected to work through e-mails and messaging apps. Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life by avoiding checking work-related messages during your off hours, and making time for activities that help you to relax and recharge.

Seek support

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to seek support from your colleagues, friends or family. Discussing your challenges with others can provide valuable perspectives and insights. Additionally, your workplace may have resources, such as counselling services or employee assistance programmes, to help you manage stress.

Feeling overwhelmed at work is a common experience, but it’s essential to recognise the signs and take proactive steps towards addressing it. By prioritising tasks, setting realistic goals and practicing effective time management, you can create a more balanced and fulfilling professional life. Taking care of your wellbeing is not only beneficial for you, but also contributes to a more positive and productive work environment.

Feeling like it is time for a change? Check out our article on ‘How to change careers with no experience’.


Related links:

How to change careers with no experience


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