If you feel like you’re overworked, you’re not alone. Surveys regularly show that many Americans feel they are responsible for too much at work.
Ideally, all the extra effort is being appreciated. If it isn’t, you need to do something about it. The trick is being able to talk to your boss without coming off as an oversensitive complainer.
Consider the following approaches to handling an excessive workload.
Deal with it
If getting too much work only happens once in a while, the best approach is generally to ride out the storm. Sometimes, work just gets busy, and if you say something every time you feel overwhelmed, you will begin to annoy others.
Instead of approaching your boss, ask colleagues for help, or look into extending the deadline on some non-essential task. A tiny bit of relief can be just enough to get you through a busy period.
Bring it up
If the issue of being overworked is chronic and systemic to your job, you can’t just ride it out. A good first approach is to mention it to boss and your co-workers. Don’t be afraid to talk about a project that feels like too much, or a responsibility you can’t seem to get on top of. If you get feedback off your comments, take it into consideration.
If that initial step doesn’t help, you need to escalate your approach and have a direct, honest talk with your boss.
First, schedule a meeting with your boss. Then, write out a list of the tasks and projects you’ve been swamped with. Having a list allows you to be specific about your workload. Being specific helps you avoid being seen as a complainer because you’re coming to your boss with specific issues to be addressed. Specifics also enable a productive conversation where your boss can offer support or advice on an item-by-item basis.
When you finally do sit down with your boss, don’t let the conversation devolve into constant complaining. Stay positive and try to be objective. If you talk about “feeling overwhelmed,” a good boss should acknowledge your feelings and work with you on a solution.
It’s important to stay focused on the road ahead when discussing solutions. If a solution will only offer temporary relief, you need to mention it. Plan on walking out of the meeting with action items you can take to address the situation, so that’s it doesn’t have to be brought up again.
Finally, it’s important not to get caught up in the idea of off-loading your work onto others. Even though this might end up happening, your boss wants you to accept as much as you’ve been given. If you can’t get a permanent solution to feeling overworked, you may have to move on to a new job situation.
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At ZDA, we support our contract employees when they feel overworked and we help overworked professionals get out of a bad job situation. If you’re currently looking to move on from your current career situation, search our available supply chain jobs today.