5 Ways To Reduce Overwhelm at Work

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Overwhelm can be common at work. It likely goes up and down depending on a number of things. We may take on more tasks ourselves. Or the boss may be adding tasks that are leading to overwhelm.

And it may not even be about the tasks. It could be that the company is struggling a bit. That can be overwhelming for the employees. They feel the pressure throughout the organization.

Whatever might be causing your overwhelm, it’s important to take action where you can. You don’t want to get burned out. That can lead to poor outcomes.

Here are a few thoughts on how to reduce your work overwhelm…

1. Assess The Situation

If you’re starting to feel that work is getting to be too much it’s good to take the time to assess everything that’s going on. And yes, I realize this is adding another item to your checklist. And that’s usually not a good thing.

But it’s necessary for getting a handle on what’s really going on. Otherwise you’re going to just keep doing the same things and likely reach burn out pretty soon.

Cancel a meeting. Call in sick for a day. Take the time to go over what you’ve been doing each day at work for the last several weeks and months. It should give some good insight into the causes of the overwhelm.

2. Remove The Unnecessary Work

Part of what you’ll probably learn is that you’re doing some unnecessary things. We slowly add little things to our plate as time goes on. We do it. Our coworkers do it. Our bosses do it. Nobody really seems to do it with the intention of things getting overwhelming. It’s like adding quarters to your pocket one at a time for 90 days. By that last day you’re feeling pretty weighed down.

Look at the unnecessary things that have infiltrated your work and remove them. If necessary, talk to your boss about it. They will likely agree that they want you working on the most important things. Not those that have just crept into your daily routine.

3. Remove Possible Unnecessary External Causes

Now take a little time to look at what’s going on outside of work. It’s easy for outside stress to cause issues with work. Things weigh on your mind. It could be things that are out of your control. But if you do see some things that could be removed then take the time to do it.

Your schedule might be too full. Maybe your kid is part of too many activity groups. They might even feel overwhelmed with it all.

We live in a world of abundance. Sometimes we need to check ourselves to make sure we’re not putting too much on our plates.

4. Set Boundaries

Part of the issue could be that the people you work with are coming to you with too much. They bring their issues to your plate. It could be about work. It could be things from outside of work. It’s good that others see you as a source of help. But that can lead to overwhelm.

If you feel this is part of the issues, look to set boundaries with some or all of those that you interact with regularly. Say no to certain projects. Say no to helping with certain things. They will understand if you say that you’re needing to cut back in order to focus on your most important items.

5. Schedule Downtime & Hobby Time

Finally, look for ways to help offset the things that are going on with work. Schedule time during the workweek to relax a little bit. Obviously this is what break time is supposed to be for. But this time never seems to be enough. Try to schedule in some time for reading about work related things. It could be a good. Or it could be a podcast. Just something that breaks up all the work a little.

Also look for something that you could do to relieve some of the stress in your life. Rod Stewart, of all people, has said that his father told him that everyone needs one job, one hobby and one sport. Just one of each and each to help offset the other two. Walking can help you with overwhelm. And things like knitting or reading can be hobbies that help offset things in your life.


Overwhelm is very common today. It’s important to get a handle on it before it really starts to affect your mental well being. So take time to see if it’s affecting you. And if it is, hopefully the tips here can help you get back on the right track to doing great work and living a good life.

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