In an increasingly competitive world, the emphasis is often placed on the importance of knowing how to deal with the workload .

In this article we will see some useful tips to increase our efficiency at work and know how to properly manage the workload during the day to day, and also a reflection on how far the solution should always go through the individual solutions.

Strategies for managing workload

Follow these guidelines to improve your chances of handling day-to-day responsibilities in the workplace.

1. Sleep well

It has been proven that simply sleeping less than 6 hours a day for a week and a half causes most people to have the same cognitive and concentration problems as those who have not slept for two days. This has clear implications when it comes to work: you perform significantly less .

In addition, little sleep greatly increases the chances of developing excessive anxiety.

2. Set very specific schedules

In most cases, the habit of not keeping timetables or only keeping them “upside down” is the enemy of productivity. The best thing is to make them concrete almost to the last detail, in order to be able to commit better to them .

3. Don’t underestimate the power of breaks

Although it may seem paradoxical, in most cases setting aside a few minutes of rest approximately every hour can get us through before work. The reason is that allows us to concentrate better , and also gives us specific moments to rest, something that makes it easier for us to avoid distractions and moments when without realizing it our mind starts to wander.

4. Adopt assertive communication habits

Sometimes we lose a lot of time because of misunderstandings. It is important to be very sure that we are doing what is necessary at all times, and this means being direct when we have doubts.

5. If you can, delegate

The point at which we can delegate responsibilities is one of the key moments of any leader working in an organizational environment: trusting the capacity of other people has its risks, but it is often necessary to be able to face the workload well.

This in itself is more work, but in the medium and long term, it is appreciated.

6. Don’t underestimate the importance of the workspace

Small details such as fluorescent lights that flicker a lot, uncomfortable chairs or a bad distribution of the tables can make it very uncomfortable to work in the medium term, including problems that sometimes become medical. Therefore, in order to deal well with workload, it is important to design workspaces keeping in mind criteria arising from ergonomics and work psychology .

The Problem of Burnout Syndrome

One of the keys to managing work overload correctly is knowing how to distinguish between situations in which planning strategies and the adoption of new habits can be the solution, and those cases in which the root of the problem is simply that there is too much work.

Because beyond the motivating phrases and the belief that the only thing necessary to reach success is effort , there are the psychological disorders facilitated by a precarious work situation and that, unfortunately, is very frequent even in the richest countries.

That is why we must accept the possibility that certain jobs are badly planned , some companies can only function by exploiting workers to the point of losing their health, and we cannot expect that the decisions we take individually are always the key to completely solving problems that are collective, and not personal in nature.
So, to find out when you have a problem with Burnout Syndrome that can only be solved by stopping working so much, consider these aspects of the way you work:

  • Does your work produce a state of almost constant anxiety, for several weeks?
  • Do you notice that in your work context you usually feel fatigue?
  • Do problems with concentration lead you to perform much less than you could be performing?
  • Do you feel an emotional disconnect from your work?

If the answer to most of these questions is yes , you are probably experiencing Burnout syndrome.

If, in addition, you feel the need for little sleep in order to meet your work objectives, you hardly spend any time eating right, you work so hard that you cannot afford even a quarter-hour break, and you have a strong fear of being suddenly assigned a lot of work, it is worth considering why you should continue to work under these conditions, since adopting healthier habits in terms of performance and organization will not make the job any more harmful.

We must not forget that mental health is not disconnected from the material context that surrounds us , and that if the 150-page documents to be filled out in a single afternoon continue to exist even if we change our behaviour, it is the job that must change, not us.

In any case, psychology is relevant in both cases. On the one hand, it helps people to adopt useful strategies to manage their time and to be more resistant to anxiety and stress, and on the other hand it proposes models of intervention in the way companies work, from changes in the workflow to activities to improve group cohesion and to avoid the appearance of problems caused by lack of communication and trust, for example.

Bibliographic references:

  • McVay, J.; Kane, M. (2009). Conducting the train of thought: Working memory capacity, goal neglect, and mind wandering in an executive-control task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 35 (1): pp. 196 – 204.
  • Ruotsalainen, JH; Verbeek, JH; Mariné, A; Serra, C (7 April 2015). “Preventing occupational stress in healthcare workers”. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4): CD002892.
  • Toker, S.; Melamed, S.; Berliner, S.; Zeltser, D. & Shapira, I. (2012). Burnout and risk of coronary heart disease: A prospective study of 8838 employees. Psychosomatic Medicine, 74: pp. 840 – 847.
  • Vázquez Beléndez, M. (2002). Psychology of Work and Organizations: Historical Approach. University of Alicante.