How to Cope with Overwork (Part 1)
Sooner or later, we will feel overwhelmed with our tasks. It seems that 24 hours a day, seven days a week aren’t enough. But over the years I have used these survival tips whenever an avalanche of to-do’s crashes onto my head. I hope they will work for you, too.
Break the large problem into manageable pieces. How do you remove a forest? Chop down one tree at a time.
Okay, this example may not sit well with environmentalists, but it carries a gem of wisdom. Look at that massive project and organize it into smaller, bite-size pieces. That way, we can tackle one issue at a time. Chop down that tree, then this one, then that one…
This will relieve us from drowning in the enormity of the task. What’s more, it may also guide us as to what is the most strategic way to begin. Sometimes all it takes is to start somewhere, anywhere, just to get the ball rolling. As we close one issue and move to the next, this generates a sense of progress and momentum.
Call for help. They say Rome was not built in a day. It was not built by one man, either. So don’t fall into the trap of doing it all by your lonesome. A burden shared is a burden halved. So find people (or ask for people) to whom you can delegate certain tasks, especially if they can do it way better than you can.
Also, marshal a team of advisers and experts. Why reinvent the wheel and repeat mistakes that others have done? I believe that every organization has a reservoir of experience or wisdom we can drink from… if we know where to look.
Don’t despair that you don’t have all the answers. Chances are, your superiors don’t expect you to know everything either. But they do expect you to know where to find those answers. Perhaps someone in the organization had done a similar project.
Remember to be genuinely humble and appreciative as you solicit their advice. And who knows, while you are externalizing your thoughts and concerns, the solutions may be forming in your head.
I will share more tips next week in Part 2. Meantime, hang in there and recharge over the weekend. Do drop me a line email@example.com for comments or questions.
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