When you are feeling overwhelmed at work, do this.

The Story

Mentoring and coaching product managers are two of the most rewarding things I do. Recently during a session with several mentees, one of the product managers seemed down. When I asked what they were feeling, the emotions flowed out.

He was overwhelmed by the sure volume of Work that he was facing. In addition, there had been recent layoffs at his company, so he wasn’t feeling very secure. Those two conditions combined produced anxiety that he had been battling for months. So, unfortunately, he was slightly depressed.

He was new to product management and hadn’t felt this way before. He thought he was weak; no one else seemed to be struggling.

I explained that everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time; everyone, whether the teacher, the coach, or the boss, has felt overwhelmed. Deadlines, tasks, and low performance all can cause anxiety.

The other two mentees on the call sang out, confirming they, too, had felt overwhelmed.

So, what do you do?

I have to slow things down when every instinct is to speed up to get more done. It may seem simple, but when in the middle of an avalanche of work, it can be tough to see what is going on. So often, we can lose track of the facts or reality of the situation. It grows in scope and scale based on our historic insecurities. Follow these steps to ease the anxiety.

    1. Tell someone else how you feel.
    2. Find a way to let your supervisor know how you feel and ask for help.
    3. Ask yourself, what one thing must I get done today? Do this first.
    4. Make a to-do list of the only things you can do today or this week. Check the boxes as you go.
    5. Review the checklist at the end of the day and own the work you accomplished.

If you do this, day after day, you will feel better and be more productive

So, what should you not do?
    1. Don’t stall or shut down
    2. Don’t isolate
    3. Don’t complain or deflect
    4. Don’t put off the big tasks

Look and move forward, always forward, never back. You will regain the hope of control one step at a time. Believe that you will get through this difficult time. Believe me; you will be stronger on the other side.

Experience is what you get right after you needed most!

Make it a great day!

Tim Walker

The Experia Group, LLC

[email protected]

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