Guide The Personal Efficiency Program: How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Win Back Control of Your Work

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If you have your eyes on a screen all day, periodic breaks are crucial for your wellbeing, both physical and mental. Most employees check work emails from home.

This might show dedication to your role, but this access to work email might not always be helpful — or healthy. If you are feeling overwhelmed, begin by turning off your work phone when you get home and getting some space. Sometimes when we imagine all the work we have to do, it can feel overwhelming and intimidating. Writing down our tasks can help in many ways. Order your tasks based on importance and urgency and be realistic about what can be done in one day.

Your private life is important. Collaboration is a beautiful thing. If you need help, ask for it. You will probably benefit from the new insights and you will feel less burdened. A funny prop, for example, could be a reminder to lighten up. Perhaps a wind-up desk-toy or jar of bubbles might easily do the trick.

One of my favorite photos, that always makes me smile, is one of the time my teenage daughter wanted, and got, a cream pie thrown in her face. The joyous expression on her face is instantly contagious. Overwhelm is often a bi-product of multi-tasking. You are working on a project and an email comes in and you see a notification pop up on your screen. Not to mention the fact that you want to be out early today to get to a soccer game for your child. By consciously choosing to focus on one task at a time, with your full attention, you have more peace.

Turn off your email notifications if possible and give that project your undivided attention. Do the same when entering a meeting. Choose to be present, fully at the meeting. For example. When you notice the feeling of anxious, you have to recognize what it is. Before the negative thoughts have time to take over in your mind, recognize the emotion and acknowledge it. We pile the most work on the best people. We go to the best people all the time. Learn to manage expectations.

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Give the boss a choice. I can do either this with my full attention, or I can do that, which is most important to you at this moment? In fact, it shows professionalism. You care about the quality of your work. Every time you begin to feel overwhelmed take over…slow down.

Literally, close your eyes and breath in and out slowly until the feeling subsides. And, when it does subside reward yourself with a small reward. It might be something as small as making a tally mark on a piece of paper on your desk. You get to add a mark every time you overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed. Buy yourself a prize.

CEO, Mailbird. The average workplace is more fast-paced than ever before. The most successful organizations churn out quality work — and they do it quickly. This can affect interns all the way up to CEOs. Everyone, no matter their position or role in a company, can let stress take hold. Not everyone can complete every aspect of a single project with absolute assurance. If you are in a position to delegate specific tasks to other members of the team, do so without hesitation.

The best teams will ensure that everyone is working in the role for which they are best suited. They want everyone to succeed, too! Now, everyone has probably heard that in moments of extreme stress, one should take a walk or step away from the situation for a few moments. However, in a real-world business scenario, that may not always be doable. Instead, get a little creative and implement something that works for you.

Whether you have a corner office or a cubicle, fill your space with things that relax you and push stress away from your thoughts. Fun vacation photos can take you to another place for a few moments. You can also keep stress-reducing activities to do during a break. Anyone up for some adult coloring?

Founder, The Travel Coach Network. Workplaces are changing and adjusting to the shift in cultural and technological trends. This makes it easier to find ways to stop feeling overwhelmed at work. Here are three of my main ideas:. Make a list of what you need to get done and rank them of most to least important. When you are organized, your mind feels more free and clearer. Then, see which tasks you can delegate to someone else which will lighten your load.

When you are swamp with work, taking a vacation or going on a business trip can seem like the furthest thing from what you are able to do. See what travel policies, travel programs, or wellness programs your company offers and use them. If you can work remotely, do so! If you can go on a business trip, go! If you can improve your work-life balance, do it! Some companies offer child day care or dry cleaning services.

Some offer free gym memberships and healthy meal options. Some even offer mental and medical services. You must take care of yourself both mentally and physically in order to think and work clearly. Everyone has a life outside of work that may include a family, children, pets, errands to run, to-do lists, health issues, and mental struggles. Learn and use whatever your company offers and take advantage of it. Things like travel can reduce stress, spark happiness, make you feel more fulfilled, feel appreciated and valuable, teach you new skills, help you learn more about yourself and what you want out of life, and so much more.

Founder, LVS Consulting. Yes, on a piece of paper. Get it out of your head. When you see it on a list, outside of you, it can sometimes feel more manageable. At the very least, you may feel validated for feeling overwhelmed. You probably do have a lot on your plate. But once you write it down, it can sometimes feel more manageable.

Are there things that other people can do? For example, if you need to deliver something somewhere, maybe someone else is already heading in that direction. You work on the 5th floor and need to take things to the mailboxes on the first floor? Maybe someone else is already heading downstairs. Even with little things, this can be a big help. Yes, it can be hard to ask, especially if you feel that others are also extremely busy. That said, pay it forward — they help you now and later down the road, you will help someone else. What is really critical for you to do now?

What can really wait? Ask your manager or someone with more experience to help you sort through the tasks. Push back, respectfully but firmly. And if someone insists on giving you more work, then ask them what they want you to put on the back burner so you can get to their priority. This is a genuine question — not snark. Enlist their assistance on prioritizing. This may sound counter-intuitive since we all want to be good employees and we often sacrifice our own personal time to get work done. You will get more work done, more accurately, when you are feeling alert and healthy, rather than pushing it until 10 pm and feeling exhausted.

When you are tired and overwhelmed, you are more likely to make mistakes and need to re-do the work, adding to the overwhelm. Multi-tasking is NOT your friend! Set aside focused undisturbed time to get through the work, one thing at a time. With focus, you may get into the flow of the work and become extra efficient and effective. Take time to celebrate. Got something done!

Acknowledge it and take a moment to savor your accomplishment. That can give you the energy to move forward. You do have choices — more than you may realize. Some of them may feel difficult and awkward, but the choices are there. Enlist assistance and support — perhaps from your manager, your colleagues, your family, your friends, a coach, etc. Heavy work burdens is sometimes a necessary cycle in some jobs, but no one should be working in a place of overwhelming all that time. Resolve to make changes for your own health, and for the well-being of the workplace. Naturally, I am a very anxious person, and at one point, I felt that the stress of being a manager and eventually an entrepreneur would send me to an early grave.

Every day, I took the stress of work home with me, which affected my sleep. For a while, while my career success was everything I ever had dreamed, but I was miserable. I learned that several of my co-workers were going through the same thing. We started a Slack channel together where we could discuss things that we were going through and form solutions. Being a part of that community changed everything for me. It was nice to know that others had the same fears and anxieties, and some of them had great suggestions for overcoming the frustration I was feeling. I now schedule my day around my mental health.

I make sure that I have some less intensive work in between heavier work to give my mind a temporary break. I work from the park or the beach, breaking up the daily monotony of my four office walls. While I still deal with the same issues even when working remotely, being in a happier place makes problems seem a bit less significant! When you are handed an endless list of tasks to complete, work can easily become an overwhelming place.

Combat this by blocking off time to focus on a single task, turn off email notifications, silence your phone, and if needed enter a conference room or silent workspace to remove distractions.

Personal Efficiency Program Audiobook | Kerry Gleeson |

When you are able to set time aside to move one action forward, a greater sense of achievement will be felt and a reduced sense of tackling all tasks occurs. CEO, Retreaver. Take a step back and take a kind of inventory of the things that are making you feel overwhelmed. Once you have this inventory you can easily work on each thing that is overwhelming you. This way you can face whatever issues you have at work head on. Ultimately, the idea is to take what you learn from this exercise and use it to lessen your stress. Each day, I write out my to-do list by hand, tracking every task that I need to accomplish and each project I am working on.

I re-write the list every morning based on what was accomplished and what has not been completed. The more I write it down, the more drive I have to accomplish it. This is a visual way to stay accountable while keeping priorities in order. Even robots need rest. If you feel like work is getting the best in you, it pays to talk to someone who can help you deal with it.

Go to your boss, tell him how you feel. The most important thing is to make sure the task is very simple and very achievable in around 15 minutes. Finishing the task will give you a great sense of achievement. Overwhelm generally comes from having 20 tasks half done. My days were full, and it tired me a lot.

Every day I felt the effects of overworking — immediately going to sleep when arriving home. I had zero time for anything else. I felt like I being trapped inside my work. At some point, you must realize that you need to change something if you want to keep your health and sanity, and still succeed with your business.

I understood that, adapted to the situation and found a solution to this common problem that many entrepreneurs face. To remain energized, I scheduled a Monday to Friday gym exercise. Additionally, I changed my diet to eat more nutritious and low-calorie meals and suddenly, I had more energy and felt like I could do anything. Furthermore, my insomnia disappeared and now I can sleep 7 hours per night, without interruptions!

Overall, my body and mind feel rested every day and ready to tackle tasks at work. Whether that hobby is reading a book or watching Netflix, you need to have time to let your mind unwind if you want to stay creative at work. Finally, go out as much as you can, meet your friends, have a laugh and just appreciate your free time by living in the moment.


Even though this is a personal journey, it applies to everyone no matter if they are a CEO or an employee. Keep your body and soul healthy, and your business will thrive. Owner, Colorstone Marketing. For example, when I first started my company, I had to be the sales guy. But I had to figure it out since the fate of my home and business was on my shoulders.

So I invested in sales books, listened to podcasts, bought training, and grew my skills. Once I had the skills, the overwhelm started fading until sales became just another part of my daily routine. Owner, Flower Moxie. If you notice that you are becoming frequently overwhelmed at work it is helpful to pause and pay attention to the problems or tasks you are avoiding. When an issue is being tackled head-on it is rarely overwhelming because the truth is: The struggle is the struggle.

Meaning, feeling dread or anxiety about a particular issue is much worse than actually dealing with the problem itself. You will feel a huge sense of accomplishment, the worry and dread will cease, and you can get back to the things you enjoy doing in your job. Founder, Searchant. As both a business owner and an employee I found it equally possible to get overwhelmed by the workload. What I have come to realize is that the overwhelm is rarely related to the actual level of workload and more a perception of task difficulty. Feeling overwhelmed at work is something just about everyone goes through.

The key to coping with burnout is to recognize when you need to take a break. I make sure to plan at least one vacation from the office per year. No phone, no notebook or tablet. Get plenty of sleep, exercise, drink lots of water and eat healthy food to keep yourself mentally and physically strong. Spend time with friends and family and stay involved in activities that bring you joy and purpose — hobbies, volunteering, gatherings, etc. If you have a safe, trusting relationship with your supervisor, consider asking them for help prioritizing your work or getting support.

Bear in mind that you may jump out of the frying pan into the fire as the grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence. In other words, almost all jobs feel overwhelming at times. The key to coping with feeling overwhelmed is ordering your to-do tasks in order of importance based on various factors such as length of time to complete the task and task due date. Once your tasks are broken up in order of urgency, you can focus on one task at a time.

Once you do that, you will notice overwhelming feelings dissipate as each task is completed. You must always take long-term plans into consideration but the primary focus should be on short-term tasks that will ultimately get you to your long-term goals. The feeling of being overwhelmed can be quite significant if one feels they are all alone with their work. An employee feeling overwhelmed can have a ripple effect, so as a superior, it is equally important to reach out and help if they notice an employee feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work they have.

Separating what one can and cannot control in their work environment can make one feel more at ease. Being able to remind yourself that no matter what you do, some things may not go how you initially planned is actually a great exercise for relief. This should help those overwhelming feelings recede and allow one to focus on what is in their control. There is no use on focusing on something that went wrong that was out of your control.

Once you can solely focus on things that can be controlled, the overwhelming feelings that stem from those things you cannot control are irrelevant. CMO, Nextiva. If at all possible, choose a day each week when you can turn off your work-related devices, store them away, and shift your thoughts to anything non-work related. Without at least a one day break each week, you will soon break down under the stress of never-ending pressure from work. We face pressure and expectations from all facets of life, and if you can manage it, take a day once in a while where you unplug from work, email, and social media.

The day should be spent in a way that will rejuvenate and relax you, and that means something different for every person. It could be going on a hike, spending time with family, or going to a yoga class. Taking a full day just for yourself away from work can bring a sense of calm, give you clarity, relieve stress, and really improve your overall mood. Whenever an employee is overwhelmed or stressed, I suggest that they take a walk and get an iced coffee. I personally try to be proactive and I take that walk before I get to the point of feeling overwhelmed. Create a healthy sleep environment, keep a sleep schedule, and stick to it.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to also keep your phone in another room while you sleep. Our phones have trained us to be on high alert and they need to be removed from the equation so we can have peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. The emails and texts will be there in the morning. VP of Marketing, Adzerk. It is better to be overwhelmed at work than being underwhelmed at work! Jokes apart, we all have been there some time, when the sheer volume of work at hand makes us feel out of sorts.

If you are new to a job, some degree of nerves are understandable, and things do get better with time. If one is undergoing a personal crisis, one can feel overwhelmed at work and this is something that too will likely become okay with time when things get better with you. However if one feels the chronic panic of this sort at work, one needs to address the core issue.

If you have been overburdened with work, you can talk to your boss and get the matter resolved. On the other hand, if you feel that you need some help with doing the work, you should go ahead and ask for it. Finally, if you feel that you are a misfit in the job that you are performing, you should ask for another assignment or leave the job. Feeling overwhelmed at work is something that definitely needs to be addressed, and the sooner the better.

Managing Director, Edge of the Web. Early on in my career, I was young, motivated and wanted to impress. I eagerly took on more responsibilities, never said no when people asked for favors and always worked into the evenings to make sure things got done. Looking back, it was rather naive of me, and before long I was absolutely swamped and overwhelmed. To help, I came up with a few basic rules that make things easier — and it worked! Here they are:. Think of it like a recipe — break it down into the smaller jobs that need doing in order to complete the task.

This works well alongside the first rule. If a new, simple task comes in and can be completed within 10 minutes, just get it done right away if possible. People are often more understanding than you might think. Ten years later and I still stick to these 4 basic rules and it keeps me feeling sane, despite always being busy. Before you leave the night before, do the following to prepare for the next morning.

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For Monday, come into work 30 minutes early to complete the following to prepare for your week. Overwhelm is caused by the big picture, break down your job, tasks, to do list, projects into as many small steps as you can and the big picture is not as overwhelming. Vice President, Tigris Events, Inc. Feeling overwhelmed at work will hinder an individuals performance, therefore it is important to create a stress-free environment.

Why do we get overwhelmed?

I also like the fact that Gleeson focuses not just on getting more done at work, but on working smarter so that you have more time for your family and leisure interests. Overall, I think that this book is worth a look if you need to take better control of your work day! You wrote this post for me, right? Also, I think part of it is work-life balance and the many demands on us, but good ideas. I will check out the book — thanks! Ditto on checking out the book—above all else, my sanity requires it! Thank you for the book tip Corinne! I have collected a few time management tips in one of my blog posts.

Very enlightening, try the two week free pro version, no strings attached. When the two weeks are up you are automatically reverted to the free version again. And Tess, thanks for the tip on Rescue Time! Time management is definitely a challenge in the high-charged world in which we live. Which is why such management and self-help books sell well. My days were planned with a capital P, tasks organized for optimization, blocks of time finely carved out so that I could manage my three-handed juggling act.

There was just one little problem — for me — with such finely-managed time. I put away the DayTimer and kept the To Do lists as insurance against absent-mindedness. And started working on managing my thoughts rather than my time. You get the idea. For me, changing my thoughts and phrasing about something was more effective, I manage my time better, and have wiggle room for serendipity when it occasionally strikes. Thanks, Patricia!

The Personal Efficiency Program: How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Win Back Control of Your Work!

Until I had a child, I totally scoffed at the DayTimer crowd; I think that now I embrace that level of management or at least deal with it because my time is so compartmentalized. You take a 6. Minus hubby who has an IT problem, minus the longer-than-expected line at the post, minus the next door neighbor who got locked out, minus, minus, minus — all the stuff that did not get and cannot be rescheduled — oh I hear you!

I like the one touch idea. I have email under control. I skim and delete rapidly for a great deal of information that comes in that does not require action. On the other hand, I do not have my paper office under control.