Numerous factors can equate to feelings of being overloaded, tired and stressed.
Because I can’t relate to this from a family management perspective, I’m coming at this from a work angle.
As Director of my team, I see the added value in helping them prioritise their work, being there to listen, and genuinely seeking the best for them day to day, in promoting positive employee wellbeing. Admittedly, it does make life difficult if your boss is not invested.
Whatever boss you have, if you see burnout on the horizon it’s important to be both clear and negotiable in explaining your current priorities and why you shouldn’t take on anything more right now.
For example, if your reason for saying no to your boss is that you don’t have enough time, prepare a list of the other tasks/projects on which you’re working, to discuss.
If in fact you need your manager to be more supportive in some way, be specific and come at it from a collaborative angle of “it would really help me.. if you..” rather than one that provokes a defensive response: “you’re not doing this..”.
If being overloaded is more about you – either needing a psychological detachment, getting better at delegating, or letting go of fear, this is less about a tactful approach and preparation, and more about finding strategies to overcome our own mental tendencies.
Taking a mental break from the job and flipping the off-switch on work concerns is super important. Research has shown that when people don’t regularly detach from work, there is a very real cost in terms of the depletion of mental and physical energy.
There’s a few ways we can switch-off from work:
- manage the boundaries between work and other aspects of your life e.g. don’t send and respond to emails during the evenings, at weekends and whilst on holiday.
- “unplug” and get away from electronic gadgets when you leave the office and long before bed.
- do something meaningful with your time outside of work e.g. learn a new hobby or participate in a club.
- Spend time with people you enjoy being around. Forward plan.
If you hold a fear of delegation or it doesn’t come naturally it can be ok for a while, but eventually the burden gains momentum. You can do a number of things to move this to a healthier place:
- name the fear e.g. it won’t be done how I want, I feel a loss of control, I don’t want others taking the credit etc.
- mind map ways to mitigate the named fear, that you are comfortable with.
- delegate to the right people, and invest in training them where necessary.
- Don’t play the blame game. Practice methods for greater tolerance and remember your team’s success and growth is a reflection of your success.
Whatever you need to take charge and make a positive change for yourself at work, there’s no better time than right now.