I wanted to draw a representation of a workload dilemma I keep coming across.
If you love your work, and you want to make a real difference, there are so many opportunities to find, and be given, interesting and rewarding projects to work on.
But what about when this is combined with people giving you more and more tasks and activities, and when you don’t have any clear priorities – it’s an impossible nightmare.
- I have amazing new ideas!
- They want it done today!
- We could get people interested in this!
Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to take everything on.
If you make yourself ill, you won’t be able to do anything
- Stress is bad for your body
- Tiredness means you make more mistakes
- Workload overload saps your enthusiasm for a job you love
Do overtime if you want, but if you do that too much, you’ll make those hours the new normal.
We all have busy spells, but if it lasts for more than a few weeks, it’s going to impact negatively on your health.
Like parents on a crashing plane, we have to put the oxygen mask on first before we help others.
You are good enough. The work you do, in the time you’re paid to do it, is great. You CAN prove yourself in a way that doesn’t make you ill.
And you are more important than any job.
Try saying no more often
I hate saying no. If you do too, you can try what I say: ‘I can’t, unfortunately’. It is true, as mostly, we would love to help but don’t have capacity.
Make your own priorties
Even if you don’t say yes to everything, it can still feel overwhelming.
If you put equal energy into everything, you can end up ‘juggling’ – going into autopilot, and doing lots of OK work, but none of it makes you proud. And it makes you feel like you’re never performing at your best.
Brace yourself perfectionists, you’re going to hate this next bit.
To use our talents effectively, we can’t do it ALL to our best ability.
So decide to do just a few things brilliantly. Prioritise. Be known for something you did that was truly excellent.
Then put minimum effort in all of your work that is not high priority: 20% of your work you can put in high effort, and the remaining 80%, you do bare minimum. Half-ass it.
Better that some of what you do is your absolute best, than all of your work is average, and you’re stressed out.
Try it for a month, see how it boosts your effectiveness, motivation and health.