If you’re feeling overwhelmed and battling with an overload of work, it’s time to stop. Here’s a better way of living your life so that you overcome overwhelm while reducing chances of burnout.

In one of my goal setting teleclasses, the participants – who were all successful professional and businesswomen – outlined the struggles they were having when working on their goals.

On further exploration, it emerged that some were moving through life in a rush. They reach the end of the week only to find out that they couldn’t account for what they’d done that week.

There simply wasn’t enough time to complete all the tasks they had each day or week resulting in tiredness and overwhelm.

High achieving women are at high risk of taking on more work than they can handle as they move up the success ladder. If this is you, then chances are high that you’re currently battling with overwhelm.

Here are some reasons why you’re overwhelmed, overworked, or battling burnout.

5 reasons why you’re overwhelmed and overworked

#1: Over-commitment

You say “Yes” to a lot of requests and end up with more work than you can handle. This creates a very busy and out of control schedule.

In a coaching session, one of my clients complained that a colleague had a habit of pushing her work onto my client. The colleague was so smooth that my client got blamed for incomplete work.

It took guts and a lot of saying “No” before the colleague stopped offloading her work onto my client.

When you look at your schedule, what are the commitments that you’ve put in there that belong to other people? Isn’t it time to say “No” more often?

#2: Perfectionism

You’re a perfectionist and want to succeed in everything you do. Nothing is good enough for you and you keep tweaking your work until it’s perfect. Unfortunately, this wastes a lot of time and gets in the way of other work.

I’ve also noticed that being busy is becoming a status symbol today. A lot of conversations centre on how busy people are and how much work they have.

The funny thing is that the more you talk about being busy, the more likely it is that you’ll attract more work to keep you busy.

#3: Poor planning and prioritization

Overwhelm creeps in easily when you have many important and urgent items on your task list.

Not everything that’s in your to-do list has to be done now. What’s more important is to identify the most important tasks and work on only those.

Try to keep your list short so that you don’t get overwhelmed when you look at it.

#4: Fear of missing out (FOMO)

This happens when you’re afraid of missing out on opportunities or information. You try to take all the opportunities that come up…just in case they don’t come up again.

Another challenge we have today is that we have access to information at all times. News, updates, adverts bombard us from all our gadgets.

24/7/365 access to the internet and social media through mobile phones has led to digital overload and created ‘update addicts’. People now want to know or give the latest news first.

This keeps many people on the edge and can easily lead to procrastination on other important tasks as you’re catching up with information and chasing opportunities.

#5: Lack of rest and/or sleep

Many people today are operating on less than 4 hours of sleep a day. This leads to poor focus and concentration which in turn leads to making mistakes or not being to concentrate. On the extreme end, it can cause accidents when you’re driving or operating machinery.

There was a time when I used slept only 3-4 hours each day. The loss of sleep accumulated and one day I fell asleep at the wheel when taking my children to school. I was jarred awake by cars honking at me. Fortunately, my foot was strongly on the brakes, which I believe prevented us from an accident.

A few days later, I drove all the way from Westlands to Karen on autopilot – totally zoned out due to tiredness. My plan was to visit a friend in Lavington but I absently drove home instead, and ‘woke up’ in Karen on the way to Langata.

These two incidents shook me up so much that I made a conscious decision to increase the hours I slept at night.

Is there hope?

Being a high achiever, I’m sure you tend to put more in your schedule than you can handle. You stretch your workload and the start feeling overwhelmed.

As we get closer to the end of the year, it’s easy to overcommit yourself as you try to complete your goals and projects before the year ends.

Over the next 5 articles, I’ll share specific strategies you can use to reduce overwhelm. These strategies will also lighten your workload and reduce your chances of burnout.

Here are links to articles in this series:

Over to you now…

What has kept you overwhelmed and overworked? Are there strategies you’ve used effectively to reduce your workload and free your time? I’d love to hear from you so please share your experience in the Comments below.

(Image credit: David Castillo Dominici at Free Digital Photos)

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