How Do I Manage Work Overload?

Reader Question: I am working too hard on my job and I feel under valued for all that I do already and my boss keeps piling more work on my desk. What can I do to manage task overload at work?

Anita’s Answer:

First of all, obviously you are very good at managing many tasks and appear to be organized and efficient. These are excellent work qualities that are valued especially in today’s streamlined office environment.

I think it is time to have a planned sit-down talk with your Manager. Rather than let your frustrations erupt into a no-win dialogue, plan your pending conversation in advance. Here are a few preparation tips:

1. Prepare what you want to say. Write out the points of your frustrations. For example, write down that you feel your job expectations have changed without notice. List them all down.

2. Write a task journal. Begin today; start writing out in clear detail everything that you do. Create a time line or task register of your work load and how you manage those tasks. Let this become a work affirmation journal in some way, because now you will see how much you get done and affirm/praise yourself for getting so much done.

3. Think about solutions. Consider solutions that are better for your performance and mental attitude. Write down possible solutions in advance of your conversation with your Manager.

After you have done these three things, it is time to schedule a meeting with your Manager to talk about your role in the office and your feelings of being undervalued and overworked. It may be helpful to prepare your opening for this consultation as well. You may begin by saying that you understand the challenges that most workers face in this downsized market, but it is important to recognize employee stress from work overload which is why I want to talk to you now about the specific work frustrations I have….

Next, list your frustrations and pair each one with the potential solution or say that you have a list of solutions you will get to in a moment. Proceed next with your detailed task list that show your production table of daily work responsibilities.

Lastly, reiterate solutions. Go over the solutions you see and then listen to expectations and solutions from your Manager. Find commonalities and create an agreement for future performance.

You will feel better once you have gotten this off of your chest, but do it right and the right way will produce changes that make your work more enjoyable and manageable.

Recommended Reading:

How to Get to the Top: Business Lessons Learned at the Dinner Table, Jeffrey J. Fox, Hyperion, 2007
The Power of Persuasion, G. Ray Funkhouser, Times Books, 1986

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The Right Mistake

Have you ever made a mistake? Do you regret some mistakes? Of course, if you are breathing that is, you have made mistakes and assuredly you have regrets about some of them.

Mistakes happen! That’s right, mistakes are a human calamity that come with the ability to make choices. Sometimes the choices you and I make are on point and other times our choices lead to mistakes.

What can you do about it?

First off, remind yourself that mistakes happen to all of us, so don’t beat yourself up and create negative energy around a happenstance mistake so long as it is not a sabotage.

If you are making mistakes that threaten your focus, skew your self worth, damage another person, or create chaos – then what you are doing is probably not a mistake, but a deeper causative response to a sense of senseless unworthiness. Work that ego-centered pain out right away and do not allow the inner voice of past pain ruin your presence of goodness and goodwill.

Second, have you considered the mistake to be a right mistake? It could be a blessing in disguise that you made that particular mistake which could actually guide you to alternate choices and open-eyed new views or information that could benefit you and alter conditions.

Right mistakes usually produce good results. Truly, right mistakes that are often judged awful at the time could blend into a higher shift in reality. I know two people who made simple mistakes in their job responsibility that set into motion a termination. Although devastated at first about the injustice of the firings, they have both created new livelihoods which they both love.

I recently heard a author tell her story about being downsized and subsequently not being able to find a new position turn to writing her book which had been simmering in her mind for more than 15 years. The right mistake here is that she previously ignored her promptings to showcase her talent. The good news is that in 2010 Patricia published, The Art of Standing Still. Patricia Walden used her situation of being downsized to the advantage of writing a powerful testimony about standing still when still does not mean stuck.

Third, a right mistake causes introspection. As I have written in Climb Every Obstacle: Eliminate Your Limits!, mistakes magnify learning. If you take the time to graciously learn from your mistake, rather than ignoring the lesson embedded within, you will begin to see truth contained within for your review.

Mistakes are a part of success; they improve your problem-solving skills. Those who avoid mistakes, avoid success. Elbert Hubbard says, “The greatest mistake you can make is to be continuously fearing that you will make one.”

Every right mistake has a solution.

Lucky You

Getting Lucky (written by Darren Hardy with commentary from Anita Answers at bottom)

16 Mar – Posted by: Darren Hardy in: SUCCESS

The Irish aren’t the only ones who have the lucky charm or a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. You can have gold, riches, success and more too. Luck has a proven formula for success and the acquisition of whatever it is that you want to achieve.

Do you think you are lucky—or unlucky? Your luck lies in whether you believe you are or not. You have to believe in luck to see it, and to realize it.

When I met Richard Branson, I asked if he felt luck played a part in his success. He answered, “Yes, of course, we are all lucky. If you live in a free society, you are lucky. Luck surrounds us every day; we are constantly having lucky things happen to us, whether you recognize it or not. I have not been any more lucky or unlucky than anyone else. The difference is when luck came my way, I took advantage of it.”

“I have not been any more lucky or unlucky than anyone else. The difference is when luck came my way, I took advantage of it.” —Richard Branson

Ah, there it is… told to you straight by Sir Richard.

The old adage we hear too often, “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation,” isn’t enough. I think there are two other critical components to “getting lucky.”

The (Complete) Formula for Getting Lucky: Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) + Opportunity (luck) + Action (doing something about it) = Getting Lucky

Preparation: You must constantly improve and prepare yourself—improve your skills, knowledge, expertise, relationships and resources—so that when luck strikes, you have the wherewithal to take advantage of it.

Attitude: This is where luck evades most people. As Sir Richard says, lucky things happen to all of us all the time, but that isn’t true unless you orient yourself to see situations, conversations and circumstances as fortuitous. As with most things in life, it begins with a mindset or an attitude. You cannot see what you don’t look for, and you cannot look for what you don’t believe in.

Opportunity: You can make your own luck, but the luck we are discussing here is those things you don’t plan for, or happened even better, faster or differently than expected. In this stage of the formula, it’s best not to force luck. Just let what happens happen, what shows up show up… let luck come to you. And it will—it does every day.

Action: This is your part of the deal. With the universe, God, the Lucky Charms leprechaun, whomever or whatever you associate delivering the luck just presented to you, it is now your job to act on it. This is what will separate the Richard Bransons from the Joseph Wallingtons. Who is Joseph Wallington? Exactly, you’ve never heard of him. That’s because he didn’t do anything about all the equally lucky things that happened to him.

My commentary:
LUCK is an active experience. The more you work and focus and absolutely believe in your project you will experience LUCK, not the superstitious kind of luck but LUCK from systematic planning that effects the desired result.

What is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you?
What part of the formula will you focus on so you can get luckier?
Comment of your LUCK processes and tell us all about how you made LUCK happen.

What Matters Most

The reason why relationships falter or depression starts or fears paralyze is the desire for normalcy.

We want to be normal and live in a normal world. Therefore, when a relationship sours and is no longer “normal” it is accepted and often internalized as someone’s fault. Depression starts oftentimes when you begin to think that something is wrong with you and your world. What is “normal” makes you think you are bad and that the world is bad. Fear paralyzes because it is a social and emotional challenge to make changes that look like they are not “normal” or probably unacceptable.

The quest to be “normal” and viewed as normal according to social standards create a distress that trouble the mind and stall an inner feeling of good. “Good” people do not dance with abandon. “Normal” people do not sing off key and smile with joy. “Sane” parents do not allow their children to speak their opinions.

Be abnormal. If you need to go beyond conditioned or social behavior to seek joy, peace, happiness…do it. If you need to suspend normalcy in your struggle to fight depression, stress, lethargy, or the seepage of unworthy feelings, begin by asking yourself what matters most?

What matters most to me? This inner, rhetorical questions can be the pivot of change that brings about a mature, authenticity. Magnify the voice that answers this question: what matters most to me.

Don’t retreat thinking it is not “normal” to talk to myself. Don’t stall or worse yet, don’t fail to ask the question because you feel that is it selfish to even engage in such a probe of your inner feelings.

Ask: what matters most to me?
Do it again. ASK: what matters most to me?

Once you get into the habit of asking and then knowing what matters most to you, you will begin to unravel and resolve most of your mental battles.

I had to get there myself. For years I did NOT know what mattered most to me? Therefore, I was battered by life-living a functional existence, but unfilled.

It did not feel “normal” to me to ask myself what was important to me. But after years of dis-ease and multiple health prompters and frantic desperation to find “me,” It is so strange to me now that I was not mentored to ask the question. My parents did not teach me, my teachers did not teach me, nor did the reverend in church teach me. During these formative years, I just did not know to ask. However, once I did learn what to ask, I asked myself that seminal question almost ten times a day for nearly a year.

I still ask myself, what matters most to me? to find my center oasis. No question that integrity, service, and love was important to me. The real structure of my unfailing happiness now is that I live that life every day at all times.

“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always
be found to be harmoniously related to
his inner state.” ~James Allen
As A Man Thinketh

If being in the company of someone who does not support what I know is “normal” and true for me, I lovingly release them right away without malice or guilt.

If I work for a client and their requests do not fit what I know what matters most for me, I immediately request modifications to our working relationship.

If I begin to feel out of sorts with any situation, I reflect upon it from the perspective of matching the situation to what matters most to me, and handle it lovingly from my inner truth.

You can do the same; ASK: WHAT MATTERS MOST TO ME? and then center all of your engagements (social, family, business) around synchronicity with your strong, authentic, loving self.

Be “normal” for yourself.
Be strong in being “normal” for yourself.

You know the truth-that’s all that matters to me.

The Importance of Thank You

I was talking to a dear friend last night and during our conversation we shifted to saying thank you to each other. She remarked that someone she knew said of her that she cherishes their friendship because she always said a sincere “thank you” to others for what they had done for her or given her.

This caused me to pause and ask myself if I am that thoughtful?

The answer is yes. I make it a priority to thank my friends and family for their kindness. Without fail I express my thanks in a multitude of ways. It is important to me to say thank you and I always do.

Thank you is important for two reasons: 1) It displays a graciousness and consciousness of a kind act from someone else. It reminds you to be grateful – in all ways always and 2) It allows you to acknowledge and accept kind gestures from others.

Both reasons – being grateful and acceptance – form character and character forms the person. It is praiseworthy and important to be known for having the being of a good character.

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece by thought, choice, courage and determination.” ~John Luther

Let me share a few ways to say “thank you:”

1. Say it immediately after a compliment. Acknowledge the words with gracious gratitude. Your response may be just a simple thank you with a smile or you may bridge onto that compliment by saying something sincere and true about the other person.

2. The Post Foundation recommends writing a handwritten thank you note promptly after an interview, getting a gift, or after receiving an award. Handwritten notes are far more powerful than e-mail or text messages – it says that you took a little more time to write the note and that leaves an indelible impression.

3. Make a phone call. Call the person and talk about the gift, award, or kind gesture. Be sure to sit down and have a conversation rather than rush through the acknowledgment.

4. Send flowers or a small gift. Yes, it is appropriate to send flowers or a small, well chosen gift when you have gotten something that is important to you. Two years ago I needed an endorsement for my new book and I was given that endorsement without a fee attached from a powerful figure in my target field. Not only did I send an elaborate thank you note, I sent flowers to her office too. They were impressed so much that we still stay in touch. I have gained monetary and professional bonuses which exceeded the cost of the flowers from my kind act that extended beyond the usual to say thank you.

Thank you is important! You will get more back when you express your gratitude for the good will given to you by others.

Practice the habit of saying thank you. Be gracious, be sincere, be willing to open up and let others see your character.