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When is too much too much?

May 22, 2018


Overworked, Overwhelmed, Overloaded


Too much work to complete on and too little time to do it in can lead to stress, anxiety, lack of good quality sleep and fatigue


I see quite a number of individuals in senior positions that are literally loaded up to the gills beyond where their capacity to operate is sufficient


What reminded me of this is that just last week I had a very senior person of a university attend my private clinic for help. It’s easy to find yourself in a position where you are good at what you do and you find it difficult to say no when you are asked to take on more workload/another project etc


Part of the difficulty in saying no is that you may like to be liked. You also may feel a sense of satisfaction that you have been asked to do more as this proves that you are good at your job i.e. you feel more valued


I had recently helped someone in a similar situation in a company where they also found it difficult to be assertive and delegate. Oftentimes thinking that they couldn’t trust anyone else to do the job as well as them. Sole business owners, I have found tend to have the same situation; particularly if they have built their business up themselves from day one


Delegation, particularly for those sole business owners whose businesses have grown and are continuing to grow, is essential for their mental health and wellbeing and the continued successful expansion of their business. Letting go of the reins for them is sometimes difficult


In a more established corporate environment where there are directors, managers, team/section leaders etc; the dynamics of workload and delegation are essential for the wellbeing and health of the individual and the organisation


Confidence, self image and self esteem along with assertiveness are some of the underlying areas that could prevent the individual making the right choices to what they need to do to be more effective and efficient. Being a perfectionist has it’s potential downside too. Executive coaching has it’s place but if the individual is not emotionally and mentally balanced then the coaching tends to have the potential to put even more pressure on them


In business we have KPI’s, targets, deadlines, empire builders, department protectionists. firefighting and all sorts of issues and areas that may add to the workload.


Addressing and helping the individual, in my experience solves the overwork, overwhelm, overload problem. Internal psychological change precipitates practical change to the benefit of the individual and the business. If the overload situation is not addressed the individual and the business suffers


Short term and infrequent deadline pressures that may create more workload are ok to an extent but if the overwork and overwhelm are constant or more frequent something generally has to give somewhere and it is normally the health of the individual.


If you find yourself not being able to adequately complete on your workload during the working day and taking work home or working during the weekend then, as I said above, on the odd occasion that may be fine but if it’s constant and regular and encroaching on your family/social time then the situation needs to be addressed before your mind stops you and addresses it for you. You may be well on your way to a meltdown


Early signs are lack of good quality sleep, fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate, feeling at your wits end (overwhelmed), feeling ‘flat’, getting upset and emotional easily, lack of motivation, depression, physical pain (shoulders/neck/chest)


Be proactive and seek help, it’s not a sign of weakness it’s showing your strength of character and setting the right example


Empowerment of good mental health comes from awareness, understanding and application of the correct intervention


For those companies and individuals looking to introduce or strengthen their mental health initiatives simply be in contact


Kevin Garrington


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