Dealing With Workload Pressure

You know that sinking feeling. The one where your heart flutters because of the ever-increasing workload pressure you’re under.

The flutter isn’t the fluttering you feel when you see your bride walk down the aisle. Or the flutter you feel when you see your kid score his first big-boy touchdown.

Man with hands on face. Looks overwhelmed

Photo by Christian Erfurt

No, the flutter you feel in your heart when you realize how heavy your workload is is different. This flutter is like the flutter of a dying moth.

The moth is on its last legs. His body is giving out. His wings flutter but they don’t lift him. He’s on a death spiral.

That’s the kind of flutter you feel when your workload is overwhelming.

You feel like you have no way of ever recovering. You feel like you’re buried beneath your work responsibilities. There’s no way out!!!

Or is there?

Dealing With Workload Pressure

To be an effective leader, you need to learn how to deal with workload pressure. *hint* Dealing with workload pressure isn’t ignoring what needs to be done.

So, how do you deal with the pressures of your workload? You need to:

Work on what is truly important:

You may feel pressure from an unrealistic workload. The workload you’re looking at may not be exactly what needs to be done.

Look at your workload. See what things on your list truly needs to get done. See what is busy work.

If you’re able to look at your workload and see what needs to be done and what can be set aside, you can get to the most important pieces right now. The rest can wait.

Reorganize your workload:

The next thing you might do is to reorganize your workload. You might have a task you can’t complete until another task is done.

If you’ve put the first task of a project in the wrong order, you will struggle to figure out how to accomplish the task and get it off of your workload. When you realize your tasks are out of order, you need to reorganize your workload.

Begin to organize your tasks in the order of what needs to be done now, what needs to be done next, and what needs to be done last.

Take small bites:

Looking at your workload can be overwhelming. I’ve begun using an action item list to get more things done in my office.

Can I be honest here? Looking at my action item list can be overwhelming. There are many items on the list that will take months or longer to accomplish. Every time I look at the list, I can be filled with dread.

Or, I can begin to take small bites…

Those larger items on my action item list can be broken down into more bite-sized, easy to tackle items.

You have items like this in your workload as well. Begin to take small bites out of those large tasks. Work towards making those items smaller and smaller.

Eventually, you will see those large tasks aren’t so heavy. They are only multi-layered.

Learn to delegate:

You also need to learn how to delegate parts of your workload. There are tasks you’ve taken on that you shouldn’t have.

Look at your task list or action items. Mark the items that only you can do with an X. Mark the items other team members can do with an O.

Use this as a guide map to delegating tasks. You’ve recognized what only you can do. You’ve recognized what other people can do (probably better than you can). Now it’s time to give away those items you shouldn’t be doing.

Question: What are you doing to lessen the workload pressure? Share your tips and strategies for dealing with workload pressure in the comments below.

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