Feeling overwhelmed at work is a relatively common experience. In fact, the American Psychological Association found that 71% of workers felt “tense or stressed out during the workday” in 2021. But just because workplace stress is a common occurrence doesn’t mean it has to be a permanent feature of your work life.Let’s take a look at some reasons why you may be feeling overwhelmed at work, and how improving your mindset, tools, and systems can make a difference.
7 Reasons Why You May Feel Overwhelmed at Work
There’s no shame in being overwhelmed at work — it happens to all of us! The key is recognizing that you’re feeling overwhelmed and figuring out why. Productivity hacks are great, but they won’t prevent burnout if you don’t get to the root of the problem.Here are seven signs you may be overwhelmed at work:
You’re more exhausted than usual
It’s normal to feel tired after a long shift or during the run-up to a major product launch. But if you’re feeling consistently exhausted or stressed out by simple tasks that never used to bother you, it may be a sign that something else is going on.
You’ve been criticized for poor performance
If your manager or colleagues have called you out for missing deadlines or not keeping up with your responsibilities, it may be a sign that you’re taking on more work than you can handle. If your team is short-staffed or you’re being asked to do things outside of your job description, then the amount of work itself may be the issue.
You dread going to meetings
We don’t blame you for dreading meetings: work meetings, especially virtual meetings, can feel tedious and time-consuming. But there could be a deeper reason for dreading meetings. Maybe you hate being the note-taker or having to take meeting minutes.If that’s the case, use an automated note-taking tool to remove some of the stress of taking notes so you can focus on the conversation instead. The right tool, like Anchor AI, can write up a post-meeting email for you with action items, assignees, and due dates. Meetings just got way better!
You’re always thinking about work
If you find yourself thinking about your job all the time — even when you’re watching TV or spending time with family and friends — then you may need to take a step back and address your work-life balance. This is especially common if you work from home and don’t have a clear separation between your work life and personal life. Caring about your job is one thing, but it’s important to take a break!
You have a hard time focusing on work
Maybe you have the opposite problem, and you can’t stay focused at work even when you should. Being unable to get work done because you don’t know where to start or how to prioritize the items on your to-do list can be a sign of overwhelm too.
Your to-do list isn’t clear or organized
Task management is a two-way street: yes, it’s your responsibility to prioritize important tasks, but it’s your colleagues’ responsibility to give you the information you need to get those tasks done and give you enough time to do them. Unrealistic due dates, unclear expectations, and complicated workflows can all contribute to disorganization.
You aren’t using the right tools
Finally, you may be feeling overwhelmed because you aren’t using the right tools for the job. Some employers, especially those with legacy systems, may be resistant to change and are using outdated software or equipment. If you’re still doing manual data entry or taking notes by hand, no wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed at work!
5 Things That Can Help When You Feel Overwhelmed at Work
Identifying the reasons why you feel overwhelmed at work is the first step. The next step is to find solutions so you can better deal with common stressors at work. Here are five things that can help improve your productivity and mental health in the workplace:
1. Focus on your own well-being
It’s easy to think that if you focus on your work first, then your own well-being will follow. But it takes more than a few deep breaths to do your best work. Schedule in some time for whatever self-care looks like to you: hiking, meditation, a walk in the dog park, or a short break with all of your notifications turned off.And don’t overlook the importance of a nice work environment: ensure that you have a comfortable, ergonomic workspace with fresh air, water, and snacks available when you need them.
2. Set boundaries with your colleagues
Ever since the pandemic, remote work is the norm at many businesses, which can lead to longer hours and less time to relax after work. Knowing how to set boundaries is key to maintaining a work-life balance and avoiding feelings of overwhelm at work.Make it clear to your colleagues that you won’t answer emails or phone calls after work hours, and don’t be afraid to check in with your boss about your workload. An employee who knows their limits and continues to get work done is more valuable than one who says yes to everything and gets burned out.
3. Ask for support from other team members
Boundaries are important, but so is asking for support or mentorship when you need it. If a colleague excels at something you’re struggling with, you could ask: “I notice that you’re always on top of things — how do you manage to get so much done?”Ideally, they’ll be able to give you a few tips or show you a better way of doing things. This is especially important if you’ve just started a new job and haven’t learned how everything works yet. Ask for a hands-on demo of unfamiliar tools or systems.
4. Turn large projects into smaller tasks
If a large project with a looming deadline is the reason you feel overwhelmed, break it down into subtasks, each with its own deadline. This way, you can check things off of your to-do list as you go, instead of having one big due date creep up on you.The more concrete and manageable your tasks, the less overwhelming they’ll feel — and the less info you’ll have to retain in your head to complete them.
5. Use better tools for organization and automation
Finally, don’t discount the importance of using the right tools and systems. Many of the tasks that feel overwhelming may be tedious tasks that a machine can do for you. For example, AI note-taking can help you get more from meetings by automatically taking notes, identifying action items and due dates, and adding them to your to-do list.When you hand off some of your responsibilities to technology, you end up with more time and attention to focus on the tasks that require a human touch.
Use Anchor AI to Get More Done
There are dozens of reasons you may be feeling overwhelmed at work, from having too many tasks to do, to using inefficient software tools and systems. Although better tools alone won’t guarantee wellness in the workplace, they can help you streamline your workflows, organize your to-do lists, and improve your time management skills.Anchor AI is your ticket to less overwhelming work meetings. Use our AI-powered tool to summarize the main points of long, brain-draining meetings. It can even identify action items, assignees, and due dates based on the meeting transcript it generates. Plus, you can Ask Anchor to write up a next-steps email based on how the meeting went. It’s like having the power of ChatGPT, but focused on your meeting!Try it out for free today, or contact the team to learn more!