Client demands and expectations, sales and marketing efforts, operations and production schedules, and the occasional human resources drama all serve to make our work lives very stressful indeed. It’s easy to lose composure and feel overwhelmed and taxed at work, which then compromises your quality of life and the “non-work time” you spend with friends and family.

It’s important to recognize the signs of being overwhelmed and to take the necessary steps to regain your composure. Here are some suggestions on how to do just that:

Ask for Help and Delegate

For many people asking for help and/or delegating work is a near impossible task. It is seen as defeatist and deficient. Those individuals have a compulsive need to be in control and “do it all”; of course, we all know that this “do it all” strategy can lead to a compromise your work-life balance…and tension (Often the very same people that find themselves incapable of asking for help at work have the very same problem when asking for help in their personal lives.) Assess what needs to be done, hold onto the work that must be done by you, and delegate the remaining tasks to other resources who are prepared to manage some of the workload. This shouldn’t be a one-time solution either. Once you recognize that you have taken on too much, you should develop a plan so that you can permanently delegate some of your work to others and, if need be, train them to do it effectively.

Prioritize the Work

Not everything has to be done immediately or at the same time! In order to manage a heavy workload it’s critical to prioritize the tasks and projects that must get accomplished. Do this as follows:

• Compile a complete list of what needs to be done
• Put the list in priority order and assess the relative importance of each task
• Look at the anticipated outcome/goal of the task and the impact if it isn’t done immediately
• Determine what work can be held off for the next day or week
• Start working on tasks that must be executed immediately

Recognize and Be Grateful for the Good

When one is overwhelmed it is very easy to focus on that negative feeling rather than thinking about all of the positive things you’ve accomplished. Make time each day to stop and be grateful for what you have and what lies ahead. These few moments can help you gain clarity and gather your energy and enthusiasm to move forward. Think about all of the good things that happened that day.