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Work is such a huge part of our lives that, at times, it can seem like it takes over everything. It’s not uncommon for people to put everything they have into their work without considering the consequences for the rest of their lives. If this sounds like you, you aren’t alone. You should also know that you don’t have to overwork yourself all the time to be successful. Here are a few things to do when you feel overwhelmed at work that should alleviate the excess stress.

Set Clear Boundaries

There comes a point when you have to learn to say no to people you work with. Knowing your boundaries for work is a crucial step to keeping yourself from feeling overwhelmed. If you don’t set any boundaries, you leave yourself open to overworking and taking on projects you can’t handle. Of course, your company expects you to fulfill specific job duties, but you need to be honest with yourself about how much energy you have to take on extra work before you volunteer for it or promise you’ll do something.

Separate Work From Life

No matter what your job may be or how important you think it is, no one can work non-stop. There has to be a clear delineation between work time and leisure time. When the two start to bleed together is when problems start to pop up. It’s okay to forget about work while you’re at home. Read a book, watch your favorite show, play a relaxing video game, or do anything else that distracts you from work while you’re not actually there.

Make a Priority Checklist

All jobs have priorities—no job exists where every task is just as important as every other task. When you start to act like everything is equal, you’re likely putting more energy into things that don’t require it. Prioritizing where you put the most effort will help you know when you can take it easy and when you need to focus more. 

Resist the Urge To Be “Perfect”

We have an unfortunate culture of perfectionism nowadays. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, keep in mind that you don’t have to be perfect all the time. No one can do that. You can do things “good enough” and still get by, especially when you feel like you can’t handle much more than that.

Ask for Assistance

Of all the things to do when you feel overwhelmed at work, the worst thing you can do is try to handle everything on your own. Unless you are a complete one-person show, you should have people you can lean on to shoulder some of the burdens. It’s not weak to ask for help—in fact, knowing that you need help and asking for it is a sign of great strength of mind. We all need help sometimes, and most people are willing to help if you just ask them.

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