Busy is the new status symbol - how many of us can relate to that idea? We talked a little bit about the dangers of busy culture last week on the Stress Less Show, but there is a lot more to unpack here if we are going to start letting go of the pressure we put on ourselves at work. Ensuring that you are working a reasonable amount of hours is a great step, but I know what you are probably thinking: How can I cut back on the hours I work when I have so much work to get done?? Managing a heavy workload is tough, and so this week I brought freelance digital marketing strategist, Sarah DeGeorge, on the show to share some of her tips for dealing with a heavy workload.
For all the solopreneurs and freelancers out there, Sarah’s own story dealing with burnout and a heavy workload might sound familiar to you. As a freelancer, she was doing what she enjoyed and doing good work for her clients. However, burnout began to take over as she kept getting referred to more and more new clients. “You kind of go into that scarcity mindset where [you think] if I say no then it's never gonna happen again… All of a sudden, I'm doing what I think I should be doing but I have way too much on my plate.” Over time, she noticed the quality of her work suffering, work overload setting in, and she realized that she needed to make some major changes in her workload and how she was thinking about her business.
“It was a very big realization about how society in a way kind of proliferates this idea of just like, ‘work work work work work’... And it can be great, but then we hit that thing where it's like when do we start to say no?”
When busyness is what we use to define our success, we are on a one way trip to stress. Taking on more clients or responsibilities can be great, but the more work we take on, the more we need to remember that it is often our well-being that suffers. Figuring out when and how to reduce your workload is not easy, but Sarah shared a couple of steps she took to gain control of her workload that you can use if you find yourself burnt out and busy all of the time
Tip #1: Begin to set boundaries for yourself
Her first tip for managing a heavy workload was to start setting boundaries in your life. Setting boundaries can look like a lot of different things depending on what you need and what you are comfortable with.
“Boundaries can be anything from an email signature that says your office hours… Time management boundaries, [saying] ‘I'm going to spend only two hours on this you know and then I have to move on to something else.’ There are different types of boundaries you can place and they don't have to be something super drastic. They could be very minimal at first.”
These boundaries can also extend into your personal life as well. If you live with a partner or spouse, a good boundary might be that you do not engage with each other for the first 10 minutes after you get home so you have time to decompress from the day. Take time to reflect on what you need in order to show up at home or at work and start to create boundaries that support those needs.
Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Sarah’s next tip is to get the help and support you need if your workload has become unmanageable, which is especially important for freelancers and business owners who often are doing everything in their businesses on their own. Find ways you can reach out to others to help you get the work done.
“Ask for feedback on how you can prioritize the work that's due, or if you're freelance and you have it in your budget maybe you have to delegate tasks to a virtual assistant... Help could even just be [asking], ‘can I have a little bit of extra time?’ We want to stick to due dates but if the due date you're given isn't realistic maybe say, ‘I can get you by this time.’”
We all need help at some point in our lives, and your work life is no exception. By reaching out to others for help and setting boundaries in your life, you can start to ease your job pressure and actually have the energy to take care of YOU for a change. I don’t know about you, but I like the sound of that.
If you haven't heard, we have just launched our brand new space in Center City Philadelphia called The Stress Less Space. It's an intentional space for women to relax recharge away from the chaos of everyday life. To celebrate the opening, we are having an open house this Sunday! RSVP and find out more by clicking this link. Hope you can stop by!