6 Essential Keys to Not Drown at Work

Keep your head above water and make a wave when you can

(Image: iStock.com/alvarez)

You’re sitting at your desk, already feeling overwhelmed with what you’re doing, and then, out of nowhere, two more items are added to your task list. We’ve all been there. Such circumstances can cause you to experience instant feelings of defeat, hopelessness, drowning, and dread. You don’t really want to complain when tasks are added to your list, as it’s likely all just a part of your job. But what if you simply don’t hold the capacity to do it all, because time and sanity just won’t allow for it?

You check out the list below and apply these tactics—if only to keep your head above water:

1. Delegate


If you can’t delegate for yourself, kindly find someone else who can. There is nothing wrong with soliciting another set of hands to get the job done. You’re all a part of one organization on the same mission. Here is where teamwork really must make the dream work.

2. Monitor Expectations, Including Your Own


Calm down on all the “yeses.” When asked to perform any additional tasks, you must be sure to first check out your current workload, to know that you can actually pull the additional task off. Saying yes because you think that’s what your bosses want to hear will leave you suffering in the end. Your boss would much rather prefer an offer of realistic expectations over hopeful dreams.

3. Say “No”


If you can’t do something, say so upfront and don’t feel guilty about it. Co-workers and superiors may unknowingly begin to take advantage of your “yeses,” if that’s all they tend to hear from you. You don’t want to become the “if no one else will do it, __________ will” person. You’re already way too busy for that, so feel free to put your foot down, when need be.

4. You Might Be Able to Do It All, but It Can Rarely All Be Done at Once


Find out what’s most pressing or important, and prioritize tackling your tasks from there. If something can be done tomorrow, don’t tell yourself it has to be done today—it only adds stress. Divide your workload and conquer it.

5. Find Your Groove


If you’re new to a position, give yourself time to find a flow. Don’t allow yourself to feel like a failure if things seem to overwhelm you in the beginning. It’s like that for everyone. In time and with practice, you’ll have your many tasks running like a well-oiled machine.

6. Don’t Sweat It


Just think—if what you need to do doesn’t immediately get done, no one will likely die because of it. (If you’re performing surgery, this tip doesn’t apply to you.)

Do you have any tips for staying above water that didn’t make this list? Please share in the comments!

One Response to 6 Essential Keys to Not Drown at Work

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