11 Tips for When You Have Too Much To Do

Updated February 27, 2023

It's common for professionals to feel stressed during periods of high demand. It's important to overcome these emotions so you can focus on working efficiently and taking care of yourself. If you currently have too much to do, it may be helpful for you to review various strategies for approaching your workload.

In this article, we outline 11 tips for successfully working through your tasks and recognizing your limitations when you're overwhelmed with all that you have to accomplish.

Related: 7 Ways To Manage Feeling Overwhelmed at Work

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11 tips to consider when you have so much to do

Many professionals experience challenges regarding the number of tasks they need to complete on a day-to-day basis. If you're facing a long to-do list and are feeling overwhelmed, it may be helpful for you to review a few tips for organizing and prioritizing your workflow, working more efficiently and maintaining a healthier work-life balance. Here are 11 tips to consider so you can succeed, even when you have too much to do:

1. Practice acceptance and acknowledge what you're capable of

When you're feeling overwhelmed, it's important to practice mindfulness and accept the reality of your situation. Try to acknowledge what you're capable of doing on a daily basis given your energy levels and existing time commitments. Being realistic about your goals for a given day and accepting that you may not complete all the tasks on your to-do list can help you reduce your anxiety and think more strategically about your workload.

2. Write everything down and keep an agenda

Thinking about all the tasks you need to complete at once can be stressful. Try to mitigate this stress by writing down your responsibilities and keeping track of them using a calendar. This tactic can help you visualize your workload and make a plan to complete your duties. From here, try to follow your schedule as closely as possible to ensure your work is efficient.

Related: 15 Ways To Deal With Burnout

3. Prioritize your tasks and pick a high-impact duty to start your day

Having a heavy workload may require you to prioritize the completion of certain tasks over others. Think about what duties are time-sensitive, such as those that you need to finish before an upcoming deadline or those that might affect the progress of your colleagues, so you can list your duties in order from high to low priority. From here, start your day with a high-impact task that can lead you to feel a sense of accomplishment and give you the momentum needed to finish the rest of your work.

4. Use affirming self-talk to motivate yourself

It can be challenging to maintain your drive when you feel stressed about the amount of work you have to complete. You may be more successful in motivating yourself if you engage in self-talk that affirms your ability to overcome obstacles and achieve whatever goals you set out for yourself. For example, instead of using phrasing like "I have to do this task," try using phrasing like "I can do this task," to reassure yourself.

5. Make sure you work toward goals that matter to you

When you experience stress over your workload, it's important to examine what type of activities you're prioritizing and why. If you find yourself exerting too much effort completing tasks that aren't helping you get closer to achieving your personal or career goals, it may be time to restructure your approach. Try to make sure that you're working toward goals that matter to you, even when you're feeling overwhelmed, so you can maintain a sense of fulfillment and avoid burnout.

Related: How to Effectively Handle a Heavy Workload

6. Forgo perfectionism and choose realism

Being too attentive to detail and focusing too heavily on the quality of your work may cost you valuable time you can otherwise dedicate to the completion of other tasks. Therefore, as you work through a lengthy to-do list, try to overcome perfectionist impulses and instead adopt a realistic mindset. Determine how much time you can reasonably spend completing certain duties and adhere to those limitations to ensure you progress through your workload effectively.

7. Segment larger tasks to make them more feasible

If you're working on projects with large scopes, it may be helpful for you to segment the tasks you need to complete so they feel more feasible. To do this, think about the various steps you need to take to complete your work so you can divide up demanding tasks into more workable segments. Not only can this help you plan your workflow effectively, but by completing a succession of segmented tasks and making progress, you can feel a much-needed sense of accomplishment.

Related: Signs of Burnout at Work (With Tips To Cope With It)

8. Group similar tasks together and finish them in a burst

It can be useful to group several small, similar tasks together and dedicate a block of your time to completing them. For instance, if you need to send multiple emails and complete other administrative tasks, you can group these duties together and complete them in the same time span. Doing this can help you cross various items off your to-do list and streamline the remainder of your workload.

9. Recognize your limitations and stop saying yes to everything

As you reflect on your work and recognize your limitations, try to think about how you can avoid experiencing similar situations in the future. Determine how much work is too much for you to handle and regularly check in with yourself to ensure you're not feeling too stressed. When you start to feel like you can't manage your workload, stop committing yourself to new activities until you can handle them again.

10. Take care of yourself

Many professionals who feel overwhelmed by their workload forget to take care of themselves. Try to be purposeful about self-care so you can avoid experiencing burnout in your career and personal life. There are various healthy activities you can do to regain a sense of self as you experience stress, such as meditation or exercise.

Related: 14 Ways You Can Implement More Self-Care at Work

11. Learn how to let go

While you might feel compelled to complete all your duties at once, learn how to let go periodically so you don't exacerbate your stress. Recognize when it's time to stop working and allow yourself to leave certain tasks for the next day. Implementing this practice can help you protect your work-life balance even when you face a period of high demand.

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