Last week was just one of those weeks. Because we had a holiday on Monday I was off from work. Which sounds nice and definitely was a hoot while it lasted, but getting back to work on Tuesday was brutal, I can tell you that much. The amount of E-Mails in my Mailbox led me to believe that other people either did not have a holiday or just simply like to work on their days off, which is a very preposterous idea if you ask me. Anyway, it got clear to me very quickly that it was not humanly possible to get all the work done that had piled up in the office and on my blogging schedule in only four short days.After I figured out how long I would need to work to manage every assignment, I did the only thing I knew to do: I panicked!
I know, this is probably not what you want to hear, but listen, sometimes having a 5-minute breakdown is actually very liberating and necessary before tackling the shedload of work that is sitting right in front of you.
So a few minutes and one coffee later I sat down and got my act together.
Here are a few tips, that helped me not to lose my mind on a very painful Monday morning. I hope they will help you too to stop feeling overwhelmed at work:
Step 1 Organize your desk
Yes, I realize this sounds silly. You’re probably thinkin ‘Why would I waste my time on cleaning up my desk, when there are so many things to do today?’, right? I know there are a ton of tasks lying in front of you, calling you or sitting in your E-Mail folder right now. Forget them! Organizing your desk will only take you a few minutes. Considering the time you will save during your workday because you don’t have to find your calculator, that really important paper, and your favorite pen, this is nothing. Also, organizing is a task that does not require any brain power. So after that short break down (I know, you did it too 😉 ) it’s a good way of calming your nerves and settling down.
Step 2 Prioritize
Again, this may seem like a total waste of time, when you could have already started tackling your To-Do list, but I urge you to do it anyway. Having set priorities will help keep your head straight and not get overwhelmed by tying to do everything at once.
Just recently I have read an article by Larry Kim, who states that our brain is actually not build to multitask. People who are supposedly multitasking are simply switching from one task to another in a very fast manner, because quite unlike common knowledge, our brain can only focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking therefore only leads to making the brain work slower.
So get out your calendar and To-Do list ready and figure out which tasks are the most urgent and what deadlines need to be met. That way you will do one assignment after another in a very brain friendly fashion.
If you want to read it, the article is called „Multitasking is killing your brain“.
Step 3 Get to work
Now this might not be what you want to hear, but after our prepping and planning, you will actually need to buckle down and do the work. I know the start is always the hardest part. But remember, once that first assignment is done, the others will follow so quick. There is nothing more I can tell you, but: Make it happen!
Step 4 Take breaks
Every few hours you really need to step away from the computer. A short break is not going to hurt your productivity but rather further. In order to get a quick recharge in and spruce up your brain cells the following things are vital: Get up, stretch and take a few steps. Open a window or take a quick walk outside. And most importantly, get something to drink. Really use this time (even if it is only five minutes) to think and do something totally unrelated to your work assignments. It will help gather your thoughts and refresh your body and mind.
Alright, that is it for my tips on how to stop feeling overwhelmed at work. This really helped me through my manic Monday last week and I hope it can help you too. Do you have anything that you do, whenever you are overwhelmed at work? Let’s chat about it in the comments.