5 Survival Tips for Work Overload

I like Nate Riggs’ 5 Survival Tips for Work Overload over at Nate Riggs & Social Business Strategies. These are pretty good tips, and we all need reminders. This is just a summary, Nate has a lot more on the original post.

  • Forget about emptying your email inbox.
  • Set a reasonable task list by day.
  • Limit your distractions, but don’t abandon your daily routine.
  • Cancel or reschedule meetings that don’t directly impact what’s on your to-do list.
  • Force downtime upon yourself.

Sounds good, right? I can’t say I buy all of Nate’s related explanations. For example, for email, he says:

parse through quickly, flag everything that requires a more detailed follow-up and respond with a short message that lets the sender know that you received the message and will be back in touch later when you can devote your attention to the response they need.

I don’t have anything better to suggest, and I’m the last one to be telling anybody how to get through email. Still, the flag-for-later idea would be disastrous with me. I’d end up with a string of broken promises.

My favorite is his explanation of the need for downtime. This is right on:

It sounds counterintuitive, right? The truth is that when you are overloaded, your stress levels are completely out of whack. That can effect everything, including the way you interact with your family members, coworkers and friends. It can also effect your decision-making ability and creativity. When your plate is full, make an investment in your own well-being and take one evening or even just a few hours to blow off steam. Go to the gym, take your kids to a movie, go to dinner with your significant other – do anything that makes you happy and is not related to your work.

Amen to that one.

But reschedule meetings that don’t directly affect your to-do list? Fat chance. Not if there’s more than one person on your team.

And on his explanation of avoiding distractions (watch for the irony here, please) I have a couple of comments. First, here’s what Nate says:

For us social media-friendly folks, participating on Twitter and Facebook or even staying on top of blog content is a core part of how we function as professionals. Shutting it off completely is not really an option. Instead of eliminating social media participation from your routine, moderate it. If you are doing presence building on Twitter through distribution, cut the amount of articles or posts you distribute in half. You might try checking your HootSuite dashboard or Tweetdeck three times a day, rather than having it run all day long in the background. Write easier and shorter blogs posts. Using lists and video posts or even featuring other people’s content on your blog – with your reaction – is a way to save time on the research and writing you will do.

My answer to that specific suggestion:

  1. Whoops, there goes your Klout score! and …
  2. Look, he he , with this post, I just did exactly what Nate recommends in his last sentence.

(Image: diez artwork/Shutterstock)


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