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When we’re feeling overwhelmed at work, it’s easy to feel stressed, confused, and at risk of burnout.

I recently shared a post across social media along the lines of “One of the best lessons in life is to master how to remain calm if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work”.

This single post, mainly about feeling overwhelmed, created a lot of engagement, which is nice, but not the focus of this article.

The comments I received led to this article.  Things like:

“I really wish I would know how to stop feeling overwhelmed with work”

“I really need to know how to stop feeling overwhelmed”

“Would love to be able to master the feeling of overwhelm”

“Feeling overwhelmed at work is a big challenge for many, including myself”

“I need to work on stop feeling overwhelmed with work”

Our daily lives throw up a lot of pressure and uncertainty, both in our business and at home.  More and more people want to know how to stop feeling overwhelmed at work

There is a sense for many that there is too much to do at work and too little time.

This creates a sense of feeling overwhelmed.

When you feel overwhelmed at work, procrastination, stress and fearful inaction can take hold.

Rather than staying calm, simplifying and prioritising we can get flustered and overwhelmed with the number of things we think we have to do.

Instead of being productive and moving forward we stay rooted to the spot, feeling overwhelmed.

Here are 10 simple strategies you can use when you feel overwhelmed at work to help you become more effective and productive:

1. Use The If/Then Method when feeling overwhelmed

When you feel overwhelmed at work, rather than react to everything that’s happening around you at work, think about choosing and creating your response.

You have the ability to choose whether to feel overwhelmed, take things in your stride or let external stimuli throw your off course.

We all face different pressures at work every day, but a lot of them we have seen before.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, try setting up your internal response in advance.

Ask yourself what your ideal response would be if you feel overwhelmed at work., so you know “If X happens, Then I’ll do Y”

If you can create a number of scenarios in advance, when you’ve experienced overwhelm before, you’ll know your responses in advance.

Rather than worrying about overwhelming work, this process will help you maintain balance, equilibrium and a sense of calm when overwhelm comes up.

2. Create A Freedom Hour

When you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, taking a freedom hour is a great habit to create.

A freedom hour is an hour out of your day just for you.  This is about creating balance in your day and rejuvenating your mind and body.

This could be going for a walk, reading, meditating, doing yoga or just sitting and thinking.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, take this time away.

Your body will go into a relaxed state and help you see think more clearly, reassess any feelings of overwhelm and calm your mind.

3. Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed by Focusing On Achieving Three Things 

The first step to avoid feeling overwhelmed at work is to be clear on your goals.  This bring clarity and focus.

When you are feeling overwhelmed by work try to break each goal down into an Action Plan.

Lay out what you need to do and by when, which calms feelings of overwhelm.

If you set an objective to achieve three major things each day, it is much harder to become overwhelmed at work, rather than having 10 or more things on your to do list.

You will have the calmness of being clear where to focus your time and through ongoing success you will build momentum and confidence.

To help reduce overwhelm, plan your day more effectively, download my FREE Daily Productivity Planner to help your stay focused and productive DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER

4. Focus On One Thing At A Time

Multi-tasking is one of the core drivers of feeling overwhelmed with work and the stress that comes from the overwhelm.

Jumping between projects, often giving up one to start another one and never finishing the first one.

There is often a mindset of keep doing more and more rather than doing just one thing really well.

When you’e feeling overwhelmed at work, wouldn’t it feel better to focus on just one thing rather than having 8 or 10 things floating through your mind?

Do just one thing.  Complete it and then move onto the next project or task.

5. Don’t Let Small Stuff Create Feelings of Overwhelm

I hear many people talk about how busy they are, how overwhelmed at work they are.  But often, they’re just taking passive action.

They’re staying in their comfort zone and working on lots of small things rather than challenging themselves to shoot for bigger goals and opportunities.

By working on lots of small tasks that can often feel important in the moment, they are overwhelmed with work rather than taking focused action on their most important activities.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Focus on the bigger picture.

6. Be More Flexible

Sometimes we just need to adapt when we feel overwhelmed at work.  Everything will not be perfect and go according to plan every time.

One thing you can when you’re feeling overwhelmed at work is to build tolerances into your timeline.  If you believe a project will take a day to complete give yourself a day and a half.

This will give you a higher degree of comfort if things take you off your ideal path, reducing the chance of feeling overwhelmed.

Another tip to get through overwhelming work is to just take a step back and spend 15-30 minutes recalibrating and planning your next step rather than just reacting and jumping in.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed at work you will stay more calm and focused.

7. Believe In Your Original Path

If things happen that make you start feeling overwhelmed with work and derail you from your original path, the simple question to ask yourself is “Was the original plan correct?”

If it is, step back, dust yourself down, deal with the thing, but then move forward.

If you are confident about where you’re headed any setbacks will be short-term.

8. Focus On The Positive

When we’re overwhelmed with work, our mind can make up stories about situations that are far bigger than actual reality.

When this happens at work, fear and overwhelm often set in, leading to inaction.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, look at the situation through a frame of positivity and your mind will stay calm.

If things haven’t gone well, ask yourself what can you learn from the situation.

If one route isn’t working, become solution driven rather than letting any feeling of overwhelm sweep over you.

9. Talk It Through When Feeling Overwhelmed at Work

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work and struggling to see through the trees, sometimes the best course of action is to talk it through with someone.

The other person is not ‘in the centre’ of the situation and can provide a different, calmer perspective and advice.

They can help you see the situation differently, provide support and create a different perspective that you didn’t see because you felt overwhelmed by everything in front of you.

Clarity and focus are the perfect antidote to being overwhelmed.

10. Breathe Through It

When we are anxious and overwhelmed at work it’s hard to get anything done.  We also often make bad decisions as we’re not thinking clearly.

If you already meditate, sit quietly somewhere and just breathe through it.

Another simple technique is to take a deep breath through your nose and then release it through your mouth.  Repeat this 10 times, or until your feel calmer and in control.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which strategy from today’s post are you going to try first to help you reduce overwhelm at work?

Or maybe I didn’t mention a tip that worked for you when you were overwhelmed with work.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment right now!

Further Reading

Goal Setting: An 8 Step Process to Setting and Achieving Goals

10 Ways to Improve Work Life Balance Starting Today

Feeling overwhelmed? 7 Important Things to Remember

3 Simple Ways to Achieve More by Doing Less


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Mark Pettit Administrator
Strategic Business Coach , Founder, Lucemi Consulting
About the Author Mark Pettit is a leading 1:1 business coach to ambitious entrepreneurs who want to free themselves up to jump to the next level of time freedom and business growth. He is the founder of Lucemi Consulting, a coaching and consulting company. Visionary, creative, and generous, he is a hero to entrepreneurs seeking to work less, do more of what they love and multiply their revenue and profits. www.lucemiconsulting.co.uk
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