Getting a grip on my workload


Every time I sit down to try to figure out a different work+life "fit" (to use your term), I hit the same brick wall: the unbelievable amount of work I have to do!

Is my situation hopeless? Can I ever figure this out, or do I need to find another job? And, quite frankly, why doesn't my manager notice that the amount of work I am expected to do is super-human and take some of it off of my plate?

Diane, Dallas,

Cali Williams Yost's Answer:

Getting a handle on your workload in order to find your "fit" can be challenging because there are certain aspects of workload that are in your control, and other aspects that are not. So, for the purposes of moving beyond this brick wall, let's concentrate on what you can control, which, believe it or not, is more than you think.

First, stop putting the blame on your boss. In a perfect world, bosses would have a complete and accurate picture of exactly what you are doing and whether or not it's too much. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world. And unless you say something your boss is going to assume everything is fine. So, say something if you have too much work!

In a 24/7, high tech, global work reality work will never be "done." Therefore, it is imperative that we are always communicating with our managers. Make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you, and ask for help prioritizing and maybe resetting deadlines if the work becomes too much.

It's not in your boss' best interest to burn you out, but they are probably overwhelmed themselves. I can't count how many times someone has left an organization and the manager ends up hiring three people to do that's person's job. Maybe the boss could have found additional resources earlier if the employee had said something rather than quitting.

But this is where our personal definitions of success can get in the way. Does this sound like something you say to yourself? "A good employee never says no or asks for help."

Maybe clarifying expectations was a negative once upon a time when we were expected to produce "x" number of widgets an hour. But that is not the case today. Clarifying expectations, and raising our hands strategically when work becomes too much is a necessity.

Finally, remember, the grass may seem greener someplace else, but chances are it's not. Everyone, everywhere is dealing with issues of workload as they find their work+life fit. So, take the steps where you are today to try to get a handle on your workload and move past that brick wall toward your fit!


About our Expert

Cali Williams Yost
Cali Williams Yost

Cali Williams Yost is president and founder of Work+Life Fit, Inc, a company dedicated to empowering individuals to strategically manage the way work fits into their lives.

Older Comments

The workload issue is a shared responsibility between employee/employer and as such needs discussion. Are there peers or colleagues experiencing the same issues. Perhaps Diane need to seek support on prioritisation and workload management. If the manager is unwilling to assist or support then a serious problem needs escalating further up the management line as a health and safety risk.

Jeff Dougal Waitakere, NZ