OverwhelmedOverwhelmed? I confess it happens to me sometimes. So, how do you avoid it and what do you do about it when it happens?

Being overwhelmed leads to high levels of stress, resulting in the fight or flight response. This is not very useful in the modern office environment. So, if you are feeling stressed, it can be useful to get out and run. At least take a walk or have a swim to burn off that extra adrenaline.

Find another project to work on. Don’t just focus on one thing all day or you’ll drive yourself crazy.

Daily Plan: I have recently started a Daily Plan. Sometimes it doesn’t change but it keeps me focused and moving! Don’t cross off items as you finish. Highlight, as in highlight your accomplishments.

Get some rest, the experts say. Yeah right! I can’t sleep half the time due to worrying about my work load or things in my personal life. I increased my level of fitness by planning regular exercise. Even just that decent night’s sleep will help you regain a healthy perspective. The source of stress must be dealt with, or the fight or flight response gives way eventually to burning out.

Invest an evening or a half day in catching up. The harsh reality is that it is going to need an additional push from you to get back on top of things, but it is an investment of time that will be returned to you. Procrastination certainly isn’t the answer, even though your brain might want it to be.

Exercise: If your workload is mental, make sure there is physical work to balance it.

So Please Remember: Once you have rested, through that early night or short break, book that block of time to catch up. This might mean getting into the office very early for one or two days, a trick which can be amazingly effective. You might choose to stay very late one day instead. Just don’t burn the candle on both ends at once. Use this additional work time exclusively for that backlog list. With some focused effort, you will churn through it quickly. As you feel the load lightening, your daily productivity will pick up and you’ll soon be permanently back on track. Now you can focus on staying there, and enjoying life!