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Last Updated on August 11, 2021

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

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How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end. You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver. That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not.

Here are 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload.

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility until we create too much stress at work, which negatively impacts our abilities.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working.” Acknowledge that you can’t do it all, and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader, or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm, and a heavy workload you can’t get through.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively, but who can help deliver this project. Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team Members

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus, and strengths to each project.

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Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  -Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything out.

You can take the time to think about the purpose of the project, the deadline, the desired results, KPIs, and possible challenges.

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables, and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate on your heavy workload.

Getting yourself a planner like the Full Life Planner will help yourself plan ahead and have your everyday life organized better. Check out the planner here and start to plan your projects and tasks effectively.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel that it is in the moment when everything is so time-consuming.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear[1] has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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The Eisenhower Box to prioritize work

    Want to learn more about how to prioritize your tasks and apply it right away? This free workbook Create More Time Out Of a Busy Schedule can help you. Withi this workbook, you’ll be able to evaluate the importance and urgency of all your tasks and figure out an organized schedule for yourself. Grab your free workbook here.

    6. Take Time out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate, as a heavy workload can lead to feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload. Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthy to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article to learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another, especially when we’re dealing with a heavy workload.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multitasking is a myth because your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    Get your list of priorities, do the most important thing first, and then move to the next item and work down your list.

    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

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    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients. Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes and then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack, or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then, I continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes, followed by another 10-minute break.

    Finally, I take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading, or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves, and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day when you have a heavy workload. Now, take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[2]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction; they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    Sometimes you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them, but there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily to-do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. However, they take up mental energy and clutter your mind.

    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your to do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities when you have a heavy workload?

    Spend a bit of time analyzing where you are spending your time for better time management. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

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    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is priority work; Column B is good work; Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns. At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in columns B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed, and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to solve problems, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state to tackle a heavy workload.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout, and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than letting it compound into long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets to be too much and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappy, resentful, and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    More on Dealing With a Heavy Workload

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Mark Pettit

    Mark Pettit is a Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs and business owners who want to achieve more by working less.

    How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work 11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit 8 Time Management Strategies for Busy People The Importance of Sleep Cycles (and Tips to Improve Yours)

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    Last Updated on October 19, 2021

    Can You Really Get Over Cell Phone Distraction?

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    Can You Really Get Over Cell Phone Distraction?

    “Good morning Sir. It’s 7 a.m. The weather is going to be cool today with chances of light showers.” From this wake-up call to working, cooking, drinking your cup of caffeine-elixir, and working out, do any of these activities involve you without your cell phone?

    A mere device of convenience has smoothly transformed to become a major intrusion. With cell phone distraction at bay, the increased dependence on screens has been an alarming phase for your life, maybe more than you care to admit. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we even stated that this has become a complete addiction.

    Can we really get over cell phone distraction and end this addiction?

    Considering this addiction, we will be treading with caution. Let’s dive into the journey to ending cell phone distraction.

    Pre-Contemplation

    This is all about denial—a denial that you can’t move your screen away from your eyes, denial that you may have Nomophobia or “no mobile phone” phobia. We completely understand that. But with this stage, it is all about making you realize how strong the addiction is (maybe stronger than Biohazard’s 928mg of caffeine)!

    While you might have already internalized the damage, here’s offering some help with your addiction. We would be providing you a holistic idea about the consistent pandemic called mobile distractions and guide you around with hacks to tackle the addiction.

    That said, it’s time to dive into the details!

    Contemplation – A Peek at Cell Phone Distraction

    Look around you. Apart from the N-95 masks and frenzied use of sanitizers, what do you see in common? “Expressions projected at the screen held in front of the eyes.”

    It will probably be safe to say that smartphones have become quite the companion, so much that the real companion is often ignored for the virtual ones. You must have come across many memes based on this topic.

    Additionally, the terrifying statistics on your cell phone addiction are not going exactly subtle on the massacre that this distraction has become.

    Here’s to give you some perspective with the numbers:

    • Average mobile phone users click, tap, and swipe their mobile phones 2,617 times a day.[1]
    • Worldwide phone users have crossed the threshold of 3 billion and are predicted to have exponential growth of several hundred million in the coming years.[2]
    • 61.20% of the globe’s population own smartphones as of September 2020.[3]

    While the latter two statistics prove the rising reliance on phones, the first number is indicative of the twiddling-thumb syndrome following the addiction.

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    Considering your widened eyes over the numbers, we can safely assume that you have moved on to stage 2: contemplation. This stage will let you see the change that you need to undergo to ensure a screen-free healthier lifestyle.

    While we acknowledge the crucial role that screens play for some activities, we believe you can easily do away with some of these engagements, reducing the time consumed to a bare minimum.

    Think of the physiological, psychological, and sociological impact. With so much at stake and the distraction breaching all ages, it is time to start on with some hacks to break up this cell phone distraction.

    How to Break Up With Cell Phone Distraction

    Let’s not get obvious here. We won’t tell you about the:

    • reduced attention span,
    • potential loneliness,
    • mitigating eye-health, etc.

    That’s something that parents all over the globe have been putting out on banners. As a result, these facts are much likely to be considered ‘preaching.’

    We, on the other hand, have a greater concern—your cell phones, most likely, are gnawing away your me-time and hence, your creative potentials. That is something that should never be compromised. Thus, it’s time you follow up on the hacks from the pros that have been proven to be effective across all ages.

    Here let me fire away the life-altering, screen-shattering hacks that pose as Stage 3 Preparation and Stage 4 Action to cure your addiction:

    1. Lean on an App to Track Your Daily Usage of Cell Phones

    It would be safe to say that you have some tiny “time thieves” lurking in your mobile phones, crunching and munching away your precious hours. For the hacks, we start with the most convenient one—installing phone usage tracker apps.

    Here is a list of the best ones for both the Android and the iOS platforms in 2020.

    • QualityTime – My Digital Diet
    • YourHour – Phone Addiction Tracker and Controller
    • Stay Focused – App Block (Control Phone Addiction)
    • Social Fever App Usage Tracker
    • PhoneUsage Tracker

    With either of these apps playing the ‘personal trainer’ or referee, your hours spent on social media platforms and your phone, as a whole, are tracked down. While you check the hours for the first time, beware: the numbers may not be for the weak hearts!

    2. Re-Subscribe to Your Hobbies

    The price that you pay for your cell phone distraction is your growing distance from your hobbies. While you kill time with your screen-related engagements, you lose the roots of your hobbies.

    So, make sure to do the following steps:

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    1. List down your hobbies.
    2. Put it up on your headboard or sticky notes.
    3. Start slow on your hobbies.
    4. Set realistic goals, dividing the time spent on your phones and your hobby.

    Once you rekindle your old, highschool-sweetheart of love, the attachment with the screen will eventually wither away.

    3. Take a Vow of Silence From Social Media Platforms

    When was the last time you ate without taking a click or went out with your friends without hashtagging the pic on Instagram? How often do you giggle while scrolling down Facebook feeds or go ‘aww’ at the cute kitty and doggo videos?

    We are guessing, a lot!

    The numbers confirm our opinion. As per the World Economic Forum, Millennials spent approximately 2 hours 38 minutes and Gen Z 2 hours 55 minutes daily on social media platforms.[4]

    Additionally, if you thought Covid-19 changed Ecommerce only, you are mistaken.[5] The recent pandemic state and its lockdown and social distancing have unfortunately brought you closer to your screens.

    The landscape looks something like this:

      So, here is the most challenging hack of all—go nuclear on your social media apps. Before you go AWOL on us after listening to this, hear us out!

      The potential impact of social media platforms goes even beyond the mere time spent on it. You tend to take more interest in others’ lives, ending up comparing that with yours. And this, our ‘friends, Romans, and countrymen,’ has innumerable adversities.

      Remember, even if you delete the apps, you still have your accounts there. Also, if deleting it seems too much of an anxiety trigger, follow up with the time spent (using the apps on Hack 101) and put a realistic cap to it.

      4. Get Your Silent/Do Not Disturb Mode Working Occasionally

      For this hack, acknowledge first the fact that introspection or “me” time is incomparable. The diverse ringtones and tunes emerging from your cell phone are baits that will draw out hours from your life.

      While putting your phone on silent during meals or work meetings is a matter of manners, doing the same at other times means you are just prioritizing yourself. This will help you go back to your old habits and stay away from technological labyrinths.

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      5. Set a Realistic To-Do List for the Day Sans Any Screen-Involvement

      How often do we treat ourselves for a great performance at work? Maybe a pizza or a bowl of ice cream? Why don’t you do the same for your cell phone distraction?

      What you need to do is:

      1. Sit down with a daily bucket list before sleeping off at night.
      2. Make sure that the list of activities involves minimum screen time.
      3. Accomplish the listed jobs and then reward yourself with some social media scrolling.

      So, do we have a deal? Get started, ASAP!

      6. Where Have Your Books/Magazines Gone?

      Ask around, and your last generation will tell you the attraction of the tangible books—the tranquility involved in flipping the pages while your palm hugs a cup of your warm caffeine.

      With Kindles, Ipads, and tablets, that charm is long lost. However, for those looking and determined to dig away from this distraction, we suggest you try this reconnection. Reading, not on screens, but with the physical and tangible books will help you feel grounded and rekindle yet another hobby that will be responsible for your personal growth.

      So, dust the cobwebs off your bookshelf, and get your mind its treat of imagination!

      7. Go Serial Killer on Your Notifications

      Don’t get us wrong! We are not asking you to go all ‘Ted Bundy’ on your notifications but also, can you do that, please? Hear us out before freaking out completely.

      All of your sneaky apps frequently give out tiny beckonings via notifications, reminding you of their existence.

      While being notified is appreciated occasionally, it can surmount to considerable distraction if the phone goes off every 5 minutes.

      The best way out? Turn off notifications, even if for a couple of hours. You will then have the power not to be distracted from your contemporary activity and enjoy scanning through notifications at your preferred time.

      8. Get the Screen Glares Away an Hour Before Sleep

      What’s the best excuse that you put on for keeping your cell phone on your nightstand?

      Let me guess. Alarm?

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      Quit the excuse queue, your alarm clock can serve the purpose well! Additionally, you won’t have the ‘convenient access’ to your screen right before you sleep.

      Seems harsh? Follow through and you will experience a sudden and considerable improvement in your daily schedule. Without your phone in an arm’s reach from your bed, you also won’t start your day by scrolling social media feeds.

      9. Go for a Black and White Mode

      OLED or Organic Light-Emitting Diode is the latest call of the display technology in cell phones. With promises of better black themes and incredible pixel-views, the color contrast in this display is too attractive.

      However, it is this color-coding that fetches and attaches you for a longer time on your cell phones. For those seeking to get rid of your cell phone distraction, your best way forward is by opting for grayscale. This makes the screen much less desirable to look at.

      As of recent, multiple phones come with ‘bedtime mode’ that switches off the phone to grayscale mode. With the color drained from your phone, the social media platforms become immediately unattractive. In case you are seeking a reference, think of the memory Dump ground in Pixar’s Inside Out.

      10. Be Ready for the Withdrawal Symptoms

      Much like any addiction, acting on the cell phone distraction also brings in withdrawal symptoms (read up Nomophobia or “no mobile phone” phobia). While planning to leave your phone at home might seem a brave move, agitations, distractions, stressing out, and getting upset are surefire consequences.

      Considering that cell phones have become the representative for connectivity, staying away from them is a huge stress. Researchers have also gone their distance to say that compulsive cell phone behavior is a resultant of the Pavlovian conditioning system.

      The tune of cell phone notifications somehow sends a signal that some great news is on its way, and you are compelled to check your phone, considering that the notification meets up to your expectation leading to a release of dopamine into your system. With that dopamine release around, your anxiety is sure to kick in. So, prepare yourself for that!

      11. Pro Hack: Embrace Your Smart Speakers

      Do you know that grey pretty piece of technology greeting you with the weather update? Your Alexa/ Siri/Cortana/Google at play via smart speakers? They can be quite the acquaintance when you are trying to get rid of your cell phone distraction.

      Considering that you need the support of your phones to carry out daily activities, you can always rely on screen-less technology. This will help keep the smartphone away from your hands for a prolonged period.

      Final Thoughts

      Nearing the end of your addiction recovery, it’s all about maintenance and recovery. Don’t let your cellular bridles go loose thinking that you are over your cell phone distraction.

      You can always rely on the ‘hair band technique’ to keep the scrolling thumbs away. Maybe, you will be reminded that those opposable thumbs of yours can do much better—the guides of which you can find in the diverse blogs posted on the site or our social media sites.

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      What say, you game?

      More Tips to Avoid Cell Phone Distraction

      Featured photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo via unsplash.com

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