Managing Overwhelming Workloads
We all experience ‘those’ days – the ones where you walk to your office, fresh coffee and muffin in hand, smile on your face, and confident that today is the day you’ll get on top of things! Then you see the line waiting to get into your office, receive a handful of handwritten requests for a phone call back, see the notice from IT that your email is approaching ‘critical’ levels, and sink morosely into your chair.
While your first thought might be that today is the day to crack that special bottle of whisky in your desk (for emergencies only!), there have to be better ways to handle the chaos. I’m sure we all have both quick fixes for short term student overloads, and longer term stress management techniques – but what are they?!
Online searches on how to manage overwhelming workloads produce very similar suggestions; these are very typical – and good – suggestions!
- Set limits: I hear the refrain from a Christina Perri song in my head – “I’m only human…”. While we may not be able to get additional help in those busiest times of year, let someone else know that you are feeling overwhelmed and seek suggestions (which I’m doing here!)
- Chunk it: Do what you can today – chances are the rest isn’t going anywhere.
- Get organized: Not my forte, so for me this means removing all the things that are not immediate from my line of vision so they stop overwhelming me… until later.
- Prioritize effectively: My inclination is to answer a ‘quick question’ because it should be quick, but this takes away time from handling the true student emergencies on the list. Our office already has in-person sorting procedures during our busiest times, and I do the same with my email requests every day. Sometimes though, the phone messages get left hanging. Yikes!
- Manage the stress: Take those breaks, go outside, take a colleague for a coffee and a laugh, use some soothing aromatherapy in your office (I love ‘Yoga’ from Saje) – do anything that works to bring you down from the ceiling!
(adapted from eatyourcareer.com How to Deal with An Overwhelming Workload [Blog Post]
Retrieved from http://www.eatyourcareer.com/2012/12/how-to-deal-with-an-overwhelming- workload/ )
As Advisors, we are queens and kings of solution-focused problem solving – it’s what we do!! So if your suggestions are to hide behind your office door for 10 minutes of on-the-floor meditation, or to post very clear restrictions on who you will see at specific points in the term, please share with the rest of us by posting questions and suggestions in the comment section below!
What are some of the strategies and tools you use during those crazy times of the year? What do you want to ask other Advisors?
-Sally Burgess, OAAP Steering Committee