How to Effectively Manage Your Heavy Workload
A friend recently shared the story of her stressed-out father. The company he worked for laid off some staff in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic. He now has to manage a heavy workload to cover the shortage of manpower. She said he was struggling and wished she could help him in some way.
While this may seem like an extreme case, it is almost commonplace as a result of the pandemic. But I’m sure even in normal times that we have all faced heavier than usual workloads.
This maybe fine when the situation is temporary, the trouble starts when you have to manage a heavy workload indefinitely. This can be demotivating over time.
In such situations, achieving work-life balance takes a back seat when we channel all our energy into just staying afloat. But this doesn’t do our health and well-being any favours in the long run. Not managing it well can lead to burnout and chronic stress.
What can we do to manage a heavy workload and stay motivated at work as well? An important angle to consider is to acquire self-management skills at an NLP for work course.
Here are six points to help take some weight off your shoulders:
1. Know Your Limit
If you’ve worked in the corporate sector for a number of years, you’ll probably have a whiff by now as to how much work is manageable or too much. It’s a subjective limit depending on your self-management skills and the emphasis you place on achieving work-life balance.
Some people can take the extra load in their stride, while others can’t cope. This could be due to other life commitments, lack of self-management skills or simply not knowing how to handle the situation.
It’s important to inform your boss or supervisor if you know that you won’t be able to deliver. Do it at the outset to prevent any delays or inconvenience. This is better than struggling and ending up with incomplete work.
Keep family members in the loop too when you need to manage a heavy workload. This helps them understand what you’re going through and maybe even step up to cover you at home.
There is a distinction between multi-tasking and starting on many projects without closing any. People who are easily distracted tend to do the latter. This certainly does not help you manage a heavy workload, neither improve productivity. In fact it’s actually counter-productive.
I have seen so many people who struggle with this. Starting on many tasks and switching from one to the other, in an attempt to multi task but failing miserably. This causes a loss of momentum and focus. By the end of the day nothing is achieved anyway and not a single task has been completed.
People who are adept at multi-tasking are able to juggle a few balls at a time and complete their tasks. This efficiency can only be understood and observed, once a person acquires the skill to multi task.
For those who have not reached this level, start multi-tasking with perhaps two things then increase the number as you get more adept at this skill, which requires discipline and focus. This will help you stay motivated at work.
3. Set Boundaries
It’s very common for people to find it hard to say “NO”. Think about it. How many times have you agreed to do something despite the fact that you are running for time and totally lack the energy.
Setting healthy boundaries is a must when you know you need to manage a heavy workload. It’s also crucial when you value achieving work-life balance. These are some examples of situations that call for setting boundaries:
4. Remove Distractions
Turn off phone notifications and stop all social media activities, especially when you know you have to manage a heavy workload. Constant ‘dings’ from your phone are not only tempting but also highly annoying to others at the workplace. It’s also a sign of poor self-management skills.
You think, “it’s just a few minutes” and before you know it an hour has passed! Sound familiar? Set aside a time, preferably outside working hours, to check messages or look at social media posts.
If your work requires you to use your phone then create some strategy to push aside personal messages and calls.
5. Upgrade Your Self-management Skills
How you manage a heavy workload depends on how you efficiently utilise the working hours available to you. You must master fundamental self-management skills of accountability, initiative and time efficiency in order to be successful.
The answers to these questions will help you diagnose the quality of your self-management skills. Take the initiative to learn self-management skills in a more structured setting at an NLP for work course.
Knowing when to delegate shows strength and maturity. It’s an indication of good self-management skills and the best way to utilise time and manpower available. It’s also a way to manage a heavy workload.
Trying to manage a heavy workload all by yourself may backfire. Delegating does not mean shirking your responsibility. Through reasonable discussions and with the consensus of all involved, it can lighten the weight on your shoulders.
At the end of the day, it’s quite common to manage a heavy workload from time to time, it’s perfectly fine. The trick is don’t try to cope with it alone. Or worse, think that there’s nothing you can do about it.
There are always ways to help yourself or find someone who can help. All you need to do is speak up and reach out.
If you have been struggling with a heavy workload for a long time and there’s no end in sight, that’s not a good sign. It’s time to seek professional help. Consider an NLP for work course to identify the root causes and help you make the change.
Sylvia Fernandes is the Founder & CEO of VIA Frontiers. She is a Master Trainer of NLP who is specialised in corporate applications. She started her business in Sydney in 2002 and has been operating in the Asia Pacific Region ever since. She is currently based in Singapore. She is also the author of Bye Bye Black Cat -- Turn Your Luck Around and Realise Opportunities. Visit VIA Frontiers for more information.