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Advice for dealing with overwhelm

March 2019

Someone close once shared with me, that they were feeling very overwhelmed. This was their first job, and they were up and alone, trying to do it all. I sent a loong messenger message of advice, and thought I’d share it here too:

First, with yourself — when you have too much to do:

Remember this: - There is *no* way to get more then one thing done at a time

If you have too much to do, you can either 1) Move some things into the future (prioritize) 2) Drop things (prioritize) 2) Reduce the requirements (change scope) 3) Delegate

To be able to do this well, you have to remember:

You can’t expect yourself to get everything done. You’re only human, you can only deal with one thing at a time.

Having too much to do happens in all hard things — the goal here is to solve problems together.

If something can’t be done it is okay, and a part of life itself

Second, with others, the key is communication

The only thing you other people is this:

To communicate exactly where you’re at, and what the timeline looks like

i.e if you get a bunch of tasks

It is not your job to solve it

It is everyone’s job to solve the problem together

So, what you need to do is it to communicate

1) What the times for that look like, what you are prioritizing. Your job is to state the problem, then as a team you can decide — should we drop some things, change the requirements, delegate, etc

Third, if you get work you don’t like

This, is not okay for the long run. Of course we are all team players, but one of the best things about working as a team is that everyone should be doing what they are amazing at — it is ultimately the best for the company

So, with that, here’s what we’ll do:

  1. Set up a 1:1, and communicate your thoughts.
  2. The key is to remember this is again team work. If you need to be doing something, because that’s the best for the team, it’s okay. But then, make a plan to solve it down the road

All in all, remember this:

1) You are doing an amazing job — it’s impossible to do everything, even if you had a 100 employees. Solving every problem is not your responsibility. Coming to a solution together is — your only job is to communicate

2) It’s best for you and the whole company for you to be working on what you do best — it’s okay to take one for the team for some time, but there needs to be a plan — both you and the whole team will like that.

3) Sometimes tough communication happens during stressful situations. It’s not okay for this to be left unchecked — everyone is human, but there needs to be a plan, everyone needs to be on the same page. The way to do that is to again communicate

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