Today’s tough economic times and minimum staffing leave many employees feeling overwhelmed. What do you say when your boss gives you a new assignment and you already have a full workload? Resist the temptation to declare “I only have two hands” or “I can only do one thing at a time” because those responses sound whiny and may sabotage your job.
Instead, follow these steps to gather the facts and then have a tactful conversation:
- Prepare the information. Make a list of all your projects and how long it will take to complete each one. Rank the projects based on importance. Estimate how long the new project will take and determine if it could fit within your schedule. Lastly, think about and be prepared to explain how your heavy workload detrimentally affects your job and the organization’s bottom line.
- Meet to discuss the issues. Approach your boss when feelings are positive and energy is high. Express your concerns about adding the new assignment. Keep your complaint brief and back it up with facts. Use “I” rather than “you” to effectively express your own feelings without provoking your boss to become defensive. When possible, make suggestions on alternative work distributions and strengthen your case by talking dollars and cents.
- Work together to prioritize. Go over the details of your project list and present your ideas about priority. Discuss with your boss which projects you should tackle first, second and third. Come up with quick ways to achieve milestones. Establish realistic deadlines to avoid being set up for failure.
- Participate in regular update sessions. Briefly meet with your boss once a week to go over your workload and adjust priorities. Keep the communications open so all parties can make informed decisions.
What other methods keep you from feeling overwhelmed at work?
[Image Source: Bark]