It’s a good question and one that was raised by a Pause reader who observed that some people deal with overload head on and try to change the situation by talking with superiors. Others believe that overload is just the way things are, and set out to try to do it all.
In the reader’s opinion, it’s a two way street. Others aren’t always going to know you, or know what you are capable of at the moment. So they may test capacity by pushing a certain amount, to get the best out of you, to move you beyond your boundaries. Still, when the load becomes too heavy for too long, its detrimental to performance and relationships.
And that’s when each one of us has to take responsibility and voice when it’s just too much. Often, people are reasonable if we take the time to raise the issue and do the kind of homework that will make the case.
ACTION: Building a plausible and compelling case for overload requires more than just stating it feels like too much.
Start collecting data that will, in the end, either build the case or cause you to explore other issues (besides workload) that might be triggering the overwhelm experience.
Here are a few places to look for evidence of problems. See if you can put some measures and numbers on the changes that you see in areas like this:
* Turn around time – growing backlog and lengthening delays on delivery could mean the load is increasing
* Deadlines – met or missed? More or less often?
* Standards – an increase in errors and rework could signal rushed performance or not enough time for training (common symptoms of overload)
* Overtime – more off hours worktime could be related to growing loads
* Civility & socializing – when people get overly busy they stop taking the time to connect and become snippy and short tempered
* Sick time – prolonged overload draws down peoples’ reserves of health and energy. It shows in absence.
Although the dots don’t always connect clearly and directly, real information is the most helpful starting point for real conversations. And, without real conversations – no matter who starts them – nothing much changes at all.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Opinion is that exercise of the human will which helps us to make a decision without information.” – John Erskine
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: It’s taken less than a year to sell out of the last print run of the Take A Break booklet . I will be reprinting TAB – 67 Ways To Pause When You Absolutely Positively Do Not Have The Time again in the next couple of weeks.
At this time of reprinting, I’m delighted to once again offer specially reduced pricing for quantity orders with your corporate message imprinted on the front cover.
See this two page pdf ( http://www.pauseworks.com/take_a_break.pdf ) for a look at the cover with sample imprint, and for custom pricing info on orders. Call me (877-728-5289) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fax your order form to (306-242-0795) if you are interested in taking advantage of this offer.
These booklets are great for: conference and event give-aways, prizes for corporate wellness initiatives, EAP libraries, coffee room reading, and gifts for clients or colleagues.
READERS WRITE: In response to an earlier Pause message on Multitasking, Pause Reader, V, writes: “I work in a medical clinic. Our long time psychiatrist informs (and cautions) us studies show multi-tasking is dangerous – and presumed cause for a lot of dementia related illnesses. It causes our brain to work in short term sequences (stopping and starting over) preventing long term absorption. It is like switching a light on and off continuously – not allowing true lighting on the subject. Since I have been aware of this myself and try to prevent multi-tasking, I note my stress levels have reduced significantly.”