If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, you’re not alone. Many people are dealing with the same issue in today’s business environment. With just a little bit of coaching, you can stay goal oriented even in the face of an overwhelming workload.
But how did you get in this situation? The first thing to remember is that it’s probably not your fault. Today, companies are often working in the midst of budget cuts, layoffs and jobs being outsourced. Unfortunately, many people are faced with doing the job of multiple people at one time, making it hard to promote goal orientation for larger projects.
Task-oriented leadership is a behavioral approach where people focus on tasks they need to achieve in order to meet certain goals. While it's an easy way to focus on success, it means that employees can get bogged down with their day-to-day responsibilities. In order to successfully utilize a task-oriented leadership style, a goal-oriented person must balance smaller tasks with big picture ones. If they don't, some people end up doing jobs that their skills are not well-suited for or that don’t further their own career success.
But what is goal orientation, exactly? Goal orientation "describes the actions of people and organizations regarding their primary aims," according to Small Business Chronicle. "In business, goal orientation is a type of strategy that affects how the company approaches its revenues and plans for future projects. While all businesses are naturally goal-oriented in some way, goal orientation plays an important role in focus and fund allocation. Goal orientation also plays a part in management styles and information technology projects."
Luckily, there are habits you can develop to stay goal oriented even in the face of an overwhelming workload. Successful people focus on three critical areas: preparation, task orientation and motivation.
1. Prepare for Your Workload with a To-Do List, Folders or Calendar
If you know you’re getting overwhelmed, the first thing you need to do is prepare for your workload as efficiently as you can. Successful people know that establishing a time-saving process will give you the ability to continue to find motivation as you go about your day.
1. Get Organized: Identify everything you can do to organize your work, desk and office. For example:
- Create a to-do list.
- Color code folders that relate to different projects or tasks.
- Create templates for repetitive tasks or reports to avoid starting each one from scratch. This process will help you save time down the road.
- Use the features of your email application to route emails based on sender or subject to specific folders.
2. Plan: Create weekly plans and revise them at the end of each day as needed.
- Break down large projects into manageable steps.
- Develop habits where you learn how to estimate the time required to complete tasks, and assign your own due dates for interim steps.
- Create project boards that let you visually track your progress.
3. Ask Yourself Why: If you want to maintain motivation, ask yourself why you’re working on a project or task. You may find that you’ve taken on something you could delegate to other individuals. On the other hand, keeping in mind the performance goal you’re reaching for will help you stay motivated.
2. Check off Tasks One at a Time
Now that you’re organized, your next challenge is actually getting things done. Here are some tips for making sure you stay focused.
1. Block Time On Your Calendar: I’m sure you’ve heard all the statistics about how much more you can get done if you work uninterrupted for a solid block of time. Once you’ve set out your calendar, stick with it — don't question whether you actually need it or not. If you’ve scheduled working on a task for one hour, your main concern should be that you result in doing that work for one uninterrupted hour.
Certainly, it can be difficult to stick to that schedule, but get support from your boss and other individuals on your team to help make it happen. This is where habits will help you achieve your goal; close your email application to eliminate the temptation to check your email every five minutes. If needed, schedule time to return phone calls and emails at specific times during the day. Distractions have the ability to make you question your daily priorities and your approach to goal orientation.
2. Stop Multitasking: Some people are proud of the fact that they can “keep six balls in the air at all times.” If you’re one of those people, stop it now! Even though the business world loves that approach to work, it won't help you reach your objectives. You may consider being a great multitasker an achievement, but it may be preventing you from reaching a great result.
If you look at your schedule and task list, you’ll find that you’re already multitasking at a global level. Don’t try to actually to reach six objectives at once — you won’t do a good job at any of them, and you’ll create unnecessary stress.
3. Say No: Successful people learn that there are ways to say no without looking like you’re not a team player. If a request comes from people you can’t say no to, like your boss, review your schedule with those individuals. Determine how to change the deadlines for your existing projects in order to accommodate the new requirement.
3. Get Motivated by Tracking Progress and Keeping Positive
Staying motivated will help you achieve more and reduce stress. Here are some ways to pump up your motivation, even if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
1. Keep Track of Your Progress: You’ve got a to-do list or calendar, and you can use it to increase your motivation. Check off every task as it’s completed. At the end of the day, review all of the things you accomplished that day. If there are tasks you couldn’t complete, reschedule them rather than let them build up throughout the week.
2. Take Breaks: This may sound like a silly suggestion when you have so much to do. However, breaks are very necessary as to avoid burnout.
3. Promote Positive Thinking: Something as simple as a sticky note that says, “You’ve got this!” or something more thorough like a vision board can have a calming effect.
Keep in mind that feeling overwhelmed doesn’t mean you won't do a good job and feel satisfied. Challenge yourself to maintain a sense of control and goal orientation to stay motivated at work. It's a process, but it will improve your life overall.
Wanda Sealy created Multi-Task-Her Coaching and Consulting Services to assist ambitious working mothers like herself. An experienced coach, Wanda has an uncanny ability to help women identify and address the core issues that are holding them back, allowing them to be the inspired and empowered people they were born to be. If all you have are questions, Wanda will help you find the answers. To learn more about Wanda and her company visit www.multitaskher.com or email her at [email protected]