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The Number 1 Reason You Aren’t Productive At Work

Tuesday April 19th, 2016

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes, 45 seconds

Productivity is about more than getting as many projects finished as possible. Productivity involves efficiency, quality, and completion. You might have a lot of work on your plate, and you continue to accept new assignments. After all, you are the best choice for the job. But you may start to notice that your high level of assignments is preventing you from being productive.

Despite your ability to create and maintain an appropriate schedule and set deadlines for your projects, your productivity is at an all-time low. The quality of work is adequate at best, and your managers are beginning to question your ability to handle the day to day responsibilities of your position.

What gives?

Chances are high that you are experiencing significant overwhelm. Let’s examine how to identify symptoms of overwhelm, how to get out from overwhelm, and how to discuss your productivity with your superiors and your team members.

Identifying Overwhelm

Overwhelm can be experienced in many different forms. For some, it demonstrates itself through missed deadlines. For others, feelings of apathy and inability make it impossible to find pleasure in formerly joyful work activities. And for others yet, overwhelm can be manifested in significant physical ailments, such as panic or anxiety attacks, muscle spasms, headaches or even chest pains.

With so many symptoms to look for, identifying overwhelm can be tough.

While feelings of being overwhelmed vary from person to person, you may be able to identify your own level of overwhelm by your current productivity levels. Examine the following symptoms to identify common feelings of overwhelm:

  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Apathy, loss of interest in work
  • Problems sleeping, either too much or too little
  • Stomach problems
  • Fatigue
  • Social withdrawal
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope

If you are feeling any of these symptoms, it is likely that you may be feeling overwhelmed with your current workload. These feelings of overwhelm can be caused by taking on too many responsibilities at work, as well as any workplace conflict that may arise. Feeling overwhelmed at work might make you feel hopeless to overcoming these symptoms. However, there are practical solutions to minimize and eliminate overwhelm.

Get Back on Track

When conquering overwhelm in the workplace, the solutions must be practical and efficient. Here are a few ways you can overcome the sense of overwhelm you experience.

The first step is to take a few deep breaths. While this might seem like an overly simplistic solution, deep breathing is a time tested technique for minimizing overwhelm. To practice this technique, try to find a relatively quiet place to take a few minutes and re-energize your thought process.

While in this quiet place, close your eyes and breathe in deeply through your nose. Hold the breath for a moment, and exhale through your mouth. During your deep breathing process, consider your inhales to be breathing in feelings of calm and focus, while breathing out tension.

Another practical solution to getting out of overwhelm is to delegate assignments to other team members or coworkers. Delegation is beneficial strategy for minimizing overwhelm. By delegating non-essential task to other qualified team members, you are minimizing your own workload. Delegating tasks to other qualified personnel within your workplace also allows others to show their strengths and abilities on various projects, while working to reduce significant feelings of overwhelm in your own workload.

Communicating Your Needs

Another practical solution is to talk to your supervisor about your current workload. This might seem intimidating, but communicating your current feelings of overwhelm to your supervisor shows strength and clarity of mind. To get started, ask your supervisor if he or she has a few minutes to discuss a personal matter that involves your productivity. It is likely that your supervisor will be open and willing to discuss the matter.

The next step is to frame the conversation properly. It is important to be open and honest, as well as professional when discussing your current workload. Allow your supervisor to understand that you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work you are currently assigned to, and that overwhelm has caused your productivity and quality of work to decline. When your work suffers, the company suffers.

Your supervisor will most likely ask if you have any suggestions as to how to reduce your overwhelm and increase your productivity. While completely eliminating your current workload will probably be out of the question, it is more than appropriate to provide suggestions such as adjusting deadlines or requesting a support team.

By minimizing your overwhelm through stress reduction techniques, delegation, and open communication with your coworkers, overwhelm will become significantly reduced, allowing your productivity to regain a stable footing.