Uh, panic…I am feeling overwhelmed at work!

Let me know if this sounds familiar?

You’re working on a semi-tedious task for your manager but then she sends over an email asking you switch direction. You take it on the chin and start pounding away….however not even 30 minutes later…you get an email that your colleague FINALLY finished their half of the project you guys worked on last week. They want you to give it a once over and submit it like NOW because their boss if requesting to see it. You close your eyes and start to feel a twinge of anxiety but keep it pushing.

You happen to look up and notice your managers’ manager forwards a notification that…yeah…that thing the team made last week is broken and they want you to fix it, even though you barely know how and just winged it before.

And as 5:30 pm turns to 6:30pm and 6:30pm turns to 7:45pm you look up and realize that the fun project you actually started the day doing (that you planned on taking the day to do so it wasn’t a last-minute hurdle to jump through) has now become late because you didn’t have the time to get to it and may have to stay even later to get it all done.

So, other than a mild anxiety attack…what’s your next move? Let’s pump the breaks.

I get it. You have no idea what task to tackle first, while some of these tasks you don’t even know how to do. So what do you do? First I’ll tell you what. You should celebrate.

1. Yes, I said it. Celebrate.

Celebrate because, for one, you’re stepping into a new state of being where you’re expected to do more. You may have heard this or not but your greatest lessons do not come from when things go well. It comes from fixing, pivoting and being uncomfortable and semi scared *ish less. It teaches you how to navigate things the next go around.

In this situation, breathe and acknowledge the unsure and panicky feelings you have. Realize this situation is asking you to give more of yourself than you ever have before and although it doesn’t feel like it, you can handle this, and more.

Now to the practical stuff.

2. Take a Sledgehammer & Break it Up

Create a list of everything that you have to do. Yes, even in this situation as you watch the clock turn to 8 pm… Make the list and then assign numbers based on:

– What’s closest to the dollar or the bottom line for the company/team/you?

– What task will make your management look the best (yes, this is a thing)? What task would they want you to tackle and get done first?

After, add each task to your calendar and focus on what you’re working on now.

The amount of space and relief this will give you is indescribable. You won’t feel like breathing into a bag anymore and will likely get a case of the giggles.

I warned you. 🙂

Be careful – make sure that when you’re adding tasks to your calendar you’re giving yourself a healthy range of time to complete them. You need to make room for any other surprises that will pop up and also, give yourself a realistic timeline to finish them.

3. Talk about it over tea, coffee or HAPPY HOUR

I will never forget, I took a contract role at a fast-paced company and went through the biggest growth period of my life (which sounds great now) but at the time growth meant, hella stress, hella grey hair and several happy hours…

I was expected to jump feet, arms, and legs into new projects almost weekly, with little guidance and no complaints.

To this day when I relay the war stories that went on there people look at me amazed. They can’t believe I was expected to do that much but are also extremely impressed.

What saved my sanity at that company was a simple activity that I’m sure you’ve heard before but I am definitely going to write about again.

Talking about it with your friends.

Luckily I had two coworkers who were more or less in the same boat as me and so we’d go on weekly happy hours where one or multiple of us was having a meltdown due to the workload.

We’d commiserate, vent and gossip a bit and literally left the session feeling like we just went to the priciest therapist in all of Manhattan. It was beyond therapeutic, and I can’t stress enough about how it saved my psyche.

So, that’s all she wrote!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you have no idea what to tackle next or even how to tackle it, celebrate, throw it on your calendar and take your homies to happy hour to vent!

Feel free to poke around the site for more articles like this if you’re going through. We all can relate, trust me!

And, remember you were hired for a reason.

You’re more than capable of handling whatever it is that gets thrown your way.

Don’t forget it.

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Written by Stephanie Heath

Coach. Mentor. Big sister. I help women attain six-figure job offers and a killer internal smile.

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