Are you sinking? - [website] Email Print
Published: 14th of Feb 2020 by: Carolyn Kessler

I am encountering more and more people who are feeling overwhelmed and ineffective in their jobs. Virtually all the discussions I have had with them revolve around, in a large part, the feeling that they're simply overwhelmed.

When we aren't feeling super competent and/or there's too much work to cope with adequately, our satisfaction quotient plummets and we can't see the value in what we do. Unfortunately, this is generally when we kick into survival mode, and our coping mechanisms are seldom pretty!

I'd like to highlight a few of the most common self-defeating behaviours overwhelmed people find themselves perpetuating:

1. Disorganisation - many people live in a chronic state of chaos. They believe they have a handle on everything and claim to know in which pile each scrap of paper resides; their constant anxiety is that someone will tidy up for them! What they’re not realising is that an enormous amount of brain power is being used up remembering where everything is scattered. How much more simple would it be to implement and maintain a workable system?

2. Procrastination - the task is just too big. They don’t know where to start, are unable to envision its successful completion. They’ve never learnt to eat the elephant one bite at a time - the powerful skill of pacing themselves. It' all or nothing. "I'll only be able to do it when..."

3. Perfection Paralysis - they can't accept anything but perfection from themselves. These unreasonable expectations spell disaster before they even start.

4. Self-pity - weird one, I know. But you see, people who don't have great boundaries spend a lot of time in their heads bemoaning the way their colleagues take them for granted. But they don’t let any of the culprits know they've overstepped an imaginary boundary. No, they just use up all their emotional and intellectual head space meditating on their terrible lot in life. They’re unable to internalise the fact that they're wholly accountable for not communicating their inability to fulfil another's need.

5. Not delegating - they don't believe anyone can do the job as fast or as well as they can. Then then they seethe with resentment when their colleagues leave at home time and they're left sitting there 'til midnight.

6. Not Prioritising - trying to do everything simultaneously - it's called multi-tasking and it doesn't work. If they're focussing on 5 things at once, they're going to drop at least one ball - sometimes all 5!

7. Talking about how much they have to do something instead of actually doing it - this is a wonderful form of distraction, but potentially lethal!

8. Making plans in their heads instead of on paper - it's not possible to gain perspective if it stays in their heads, they need to structure their planning on paper. That way, the subconscious can come into its own and move them into a problem solving mode.

9. They're just plain scared - they don't feel up to the task, so they hide their heads in the sand and hope it quietly disappears.

If you're succumbing to one or more of these behaviours, get help - get training - don"t ignore what needs to be done!

These are just a few of the issues we cover on our Stress and Time Management Courses. There are ways to remove these hurdles and become productive. Methods which help us move from victim to victor when faced with an unsurmountable workload. Reach out. Call us!

Staff Training is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer.
Email us at for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660

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