Working from home has changed the way we work and it can be hard to manage barriers when your workspace and your living space are the same. People have been finding it hard to develop barriers between work and life. This could be the reason why work is overwhelming you.
I see people emailing at 8 pm on a weekend. Now that we have our computers with us all the time it is hard not to think about work, work, and work. That is why it is necessary to create a conscious effort to create a barrier.
Steps to take if work is overwhelming you
Don’t have your work laptop where you sleep
When the pandemic first started I was sleeping with my laptop next to me. This was creating an unusual amount of anxiety for me. Now I keep my laptop in the basement and have created a different space for work and sleep. This has reduced the anxiety I feel regarding work and during the weekend or after work I don’t think about work.
If you can’t work from a different space then the best thing for you to do is wrap your workspace up. Keep your laptop away from your eyesight. This way you won’t be reminded of work.
Don’t wake up 5 minutes before work give yourself time in the morning. I like to wake up 30 minutes before. You don’t have to have a complicated morning routine it can consist of using the washroom, brushing teeth, washing your face and having some warm water. I then just relax and sit and silence.
Working from home has reduced the number of breaks we take. We stop ourselves from going out because we sometimes have to attend meetings after meetings. It doesn’t make sense to get up and go out when you have to attend a meeting in 15 minutes. But use that time. Your body needs movement.
Exercise release dopamine in you and releases stress. I use 30 minutes of my lunch break to get my body moving. It seriously changes my mood and makes me feel much better. It is hard getting into the habit and it is a struggle getting to the mat every day. But once I convince myself and get there the change in mood is real. And oh how great I feel after!
Try it one day you will understand. Then keep reminding yourself of that feeling and it will convince you to keep exercising.
Don’t answer emails 30 minutes prior to your end time
Create a strict end time for yourself. If you work 9-5 then shut the computer at 5. Don’t get into that cycle of it’s just one email. Half an hour before your work time stop replying to emails. It is tomorrow’s problem them.
If you are a manager create a workspace where people don’t send emails at random hours. For those that have phones that get emails, it is nerve-wracking to get emails randomly and having to think about work. Use delayed emails as the norm in your workspace.
In my last 30 minutes of work, I create a list of items I want to do tomorrow.
Take holidays and sick days
Working from home has made it seem illegal to take a sick day. We might have the flu or a headache but we think we can just push through. You don’t have to push through. Take that much-needed break. You deserve it. It is not illegal you earned that! Mental health days count as sick days.
Vacations are necessary. At first, I was just saving up days till we could leave the country. But I soon realized my body and mind needed breaks. I took a week off just to chill and do normal things and oh it was a blessing. Everyone needs that.
Use a stress ball when work is overwhelming you
Have a stress ball at your desk that you can use when you are feeling too many feelings at once.
Create to-do lists
Create a list of things you want to get to. You can start small and in the morning do the easy things. This will give you a boost and won’t allow you to procrastinate.
For the bigger items break them down. Make them into smaller pieces so you feel they are more achievable.
Make friends with co-workers
Venting to co-workers can be fun. I am not all for complaining all the time. But sometimes you need to blow off your steam and who better to understand you than someone in the same position as you. That is why it is important to maintain relationships during virtual works. Hit your co-workers up.
Co-workers are also great when you are feeling stuck while working on a file. Your co-worker can help you brainstorm solutions. I always call my co-workers up when I am feeling stuck on a file. Chances are they have worked on something similar and can help you out.
We have recommendations on how you can make friends virtually at work.
Ask your manager to re-distribute your work
If you can’t get to it and think it’s too much it is okay to ask your manager to give you some help from co-workers.
Learn to say no when work is overwhelming you
Know your limit! If you say yes to every time your manager gives you work it will pile up and get too much. So set boundaries and be assertive when your manager is giving you work. Let them know you have a lot on your plate and it is not manageable. Managers are taking care of a lot of people and sometimes they might not realize all you have taken on. So you have to say it out for them to understand. It doesn’t mean you aren’t good at your job. It might just be that is not humanly possible to complete that much work
Feeling overwhelmed at work doesn’t mean you are in any way weak or can’t do your job. Everyone feels overwhelmed at some point. It is hard to ask for help but it is important to understand it is okay to ask for help. Just because you asked for help or said no doesn’t mean you won’t get the next promotion. Everyone has a limit.
You rather do less work with good quality when work is overwhelming you then do more work with bad quality.
When you are feeling overwhelmed write it down. That can help you track the reason you are feeling overwhelmed than you can use the above steps to help you overcome that.