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CAREERS CLINIC

Some members of my team have left and my workload has increased massively. I’m finding it hard to cope. Are there any tips for survival?

Marcus, analyst.

When people get overloaded with work they feel powerless to change the situation. Take 30 minutes out; go outside, or to the coffee bar, away from your desk. Put your phone on voicemail while you’re away. Decide what it is you want to happen. Who do you need to influence? What action could you take to make a difference?

Ask yourself what is stopping you doing or saying what you want to. Work out what you can have power and influence over. Focus now on what it feels like to be powerful and influential. If you’re been pulled in too many directions, sit down and write out all the tasks you have to do. Then ask yourself three questions for each task: Is this task key to my role? Is this the best use of my skills and expertise or could I delegate. Is this task taking me towards my projected career goals? Prioritise the tasks in order of importance and put a time and date beside each. Discuss the details with your manager or colleagues, negotiate and agree priority actions.

Practically, plan for your day the night before: list your activities as positive outcomes – you could ask yourself: “What do I want to happen?” Place your tasks in priority order. This process makes them visible and gives your brain a goal to work towards. Take five minutes for yourself every hour, to reflect and be calm. Give yourself room to do real work – only use email for 15 minutes in an hour, or update your voicemail and let people know you are unavailable for some time. Be aware of what your stress triggers are likely to be and work out a plan to manage your response to them. Your ability to do this will raise your self-esteem.