How to Deal When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed at Work

Feeling overwhelmed at work? Sounds familiar. So much to do, so little time. Whether you’re an intern or a CEO, everyone feels the stresses of work every now and then. You’ve got a million things on the go, and you’re not quite sure where to start. So naturally, you shut down. Before you hit the point of burnout, it’s important to take care of yourself and your well-being.

As tempting as it may be to chug a bottle of wine at your desk and get going on those deliverables, unfortunately, wine at work may not be the best solution. 😉

Keep reading to find out how you can deal when you’re feeling overwhelmed at work.

Get organized

When you’ve got a lot going on at work, getting organized is key to make sure you’re on top of your sh*t. Start with the basics: make a list. Write down everything that you’ve got to get done and by when, and start prioritizing. Having a visual reminder (aka a ” to do” list) is a great way to bring your focus back on what needs your attention most at the moment. Tackle the quick and easy tasks first (like responding to an email, or forwarding documents that someone has requested), and start chipping away on what needs to be done.

Plus, we allll know that nothing feels as good as crossing off each line on that list.

Don't do what's been done

You’d be surprised how much of what you’ve been asked to do, has already been done. During times like these, don’t try to re-invent the wheel and start from scratch. Instead, leverage existing resources and tweak where required. Ask around and tap into your network of colleagues to see if something you’re working on may have already been completed previously. Duplicated effort = a total waste of time.

Take breaks

Burnouts are a major no-no. When you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, taking care of yourself should be your top priority.

Don’t try “doing it all” by eating 3 meals a day at your desk. Find your balance and make sure you’re getting enough head space. If you’re not concentrated and rested, you’re not going to produce quality work. Every so often – take a breather. Go outside for a 10 minute walk, or have lunch with a friend. You’ll come back with a clear head and more momentum.

Block time off in your calendar

It’s always fun having a day full of back-to-back meetings, leaving you with absolutely no time to get your work done. To avoid the chaos of full-day meetings, plan ahead. Go into your calendar and block off chunks of time (i.e. 2-3 hours) and call it “Focus Time”. Not only does this protect your time, but it allows you to dive deep on work that’s been well overdue.

Talk to your manager

Now for this one, approach with caution. It’s important not to start the conversation saying that you can’t even, or with a negative tone. Instead, voice your concerns on capacity. Explain what you’ve got on the go, and gain your manager’s insights on what your priorities should be. Being a realist is often appreciated – so being transparent will help.

Tap your colleague on the shoulder

You don’t always have to be the office hero. As much of a superstar as you are, everyone needs a helping hand every now and then. If you’ve been given a task and you’re maxed out at capacity, don’t be hesitant to reach out to your teammate that seems to have a bit more time on their hands (as proven by the YouTube videos of dogs playing with babies always displayed on their screen). Whether that’s delegating a task directly, or finding a way to divide and conquer – the more hands on deck, the better.

Focus and get 'er done

There’s no doubt that the office can be pretty distracting at times. Between hallway conversations and bathroom breaks – there always seem to be a few distractions interfering with your focus. Find a way to concentrate and block out all the interruptions. Maybe that means putting your headphones in and zoning out to your favourite beats, or perhaps it’s taking a day to work from home. If you notice you’re getting distracted quite frequently, you’ve got to make an effort to block it out.


Remember, there’s life outside of your career – so even through the stresses of work, staying balanced is key.

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