Yesterday, I talked about the unfortunate state of professional life for many workers today. The majority of Americans are putting in 47 hours a week or more, which has led to poor work-life balance and increasing levels of burnout for many.
To help workers combat this state of affairs, I offered four tips that can go a long way in helping you lighten your workload. In case those tips don’t do the trick for some of you, I’d like to offer four more pieces of advice today:
Often, we end up overloaded at work because we aren’t delegating enough. The thing is, as more and more tasks pile up on our desks, it’s very likely that we have teammates who are ready, willing, and able to step in and help out.
Sometimes, people don’t delegate because they are afraid to do so. They fear that the people to whom they delegate their work won’t deliver the same quality of results that they themselves would.
If that sounds like you, you should know that experts recommend delegating tasks to people who can perform them at least 70 percent as well as you can. Through practice, these people will eventually be able to perform at 100 percent of your level – and you’ll never have to worry about delegating to them again. You’ll know they can do good work.
Another barrier to delegation can be the fear that, if other people can do your work, your company won’t need you anymore. It’s kind of ironic, actually: If you overload yourself because you’re worried about being made redundant, you’ll be reducing your own efficiency and level of performance. That‘s more likely to get you fired than good delegating skills are.
2. Speak to Your Boss
Approaching your boss for help can feel like an admission of failure – but if you do it right, it can actually be a sign of personal effectiveness. The key is to come up with some possible solutions before talking to your boss about your overloaded work schedule. Possibilities include:
- access to extra resources like an intern, temp, or freelancer;
- passing some work to a willing and able colleague;
- extending the deadline on certain projects;
- or being able to work from home in order to focus more on particular projects.
Explain to your boss that you are overloaded and that it’s affecting your productivity. Tell them you’d like to find a way to bring your workload to a manageable level. Ask your boss if they would like to hear your suggested solutions. At this point, the two of you should be able to start a collaborative brainstorming session aimed at resolving the issue.
3. Take Better Care of Yourself
Interestingly enough, making simple improvements to your health and well-being could increase your productivity and reduce your sense of overload.
For example, exercising before work or during work has been shown to increase your mental performance and levels of energy. It’s also important to get enough sleep: a study of 21,000 workers found that those who get six hours of sleep a night or less are not as productive as their well-rested colleagues are.
And, finally, research shows that unhealthy eating is linked to decreases in productivity. If you are skipping meals and feasting on junk food, it’s likely that you’re making yourself less productive.
4. Work Smarter
If you’re an overloaded worker, there’s a good chance that your hectic schedule has left you with no time to evaluate your methods and processes. That’s a shame, because taking some time to assess your workflows can help you find smarter, more effective ways to work. For example, you might find that you can automate a task you’ve been doing manually, thereby freeing up more time in your schedule and lightening your overall burden.
By taking the right steps and committing to a plan of action, it is possible to face your work overload head-on and come out on top, with a renewed sense of fulfillment and a much better work-life balance.