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What To Do When You Feel Like You’re Falling Behind At Work

We all have those times at our job where we feel like it’s just. too. much. The workload gets the better of you and you just can’t think of any better way to cope with it other than throwing all your papers (or your computer) on the floor – right?!

Firstly, don’t throw your computer, and you probably want to keep those papers on your desk too. Second, it’s ok. We have all been there (some of us more times than others). There is a light at the end of the dark ‘work’ tunnel that feels like it is pulling you in. The best part is that you’ve realised there is a problem and that’s the first step to fixing it!


  1. BE HONEST With yourself and your colleagues! It’s ok to admit to yourself when enough is enough. Request a meeting with your manager and tell them you feel like you’re falling behind. Open communication is key, that way everyone knows where they stand and guess what? Your manager probably has no idea you feel like this!
  2. ASK FOR HELP Even if you’re afraid to do so, your manager will be a lot more appreciative of the fact that you are being proactive about the fact that you’re falling behind rather than you letting it snowball out of control. Your manager is probably quite good at time management (having been there, done that themselves) so will likely be able to help you with prioritising your tasks and getting back on track.
  3. MAKE LISTS Me and lists go way back, let me introduce you. Lists are your new best friend when it comes to prioritising your work. Create a digital to-do list (a google doc or even a word doc saved to your computer), or if you like putting pen to paper better – do that! Trello is a useful free drag-and-drop tool where you can manage your tasks and move them around as you progress them. List your outstanding tasks and at least that way you know if you get a bit overwhelmed, you can refer back to this to make sure you are on the right track. From here, you can put deadlines to tasks and start planning your days, weeks and months in more detail. Colour coding your tasks by priority may help too.

    Look at your list at the end of the day or week – put the things that you didn’t manage to get done this week on next week’s list. You know now that it won’t be forgotten so you can leave the office on a Friday feeling like you’re not falling behind. The trick is not to put too many things on your to-do list because it will look overwhelming and things will slip.
  4. TAKE A BREAK In my experience, people commonly DON’T take breaks when they feel they are falling behind because they are so stressed about their workload. Taking a break allows you to refresh, reset, and come back to your work with fresh eyes and re-prioritise your tasks. Go outside on a nice day, make yourself a cup of tea, make sure you’re drinking enough water, or just get up and move your legs!
  5. BE KIND TO YOURSELF Life is stressful enough outside of work, let alone when we combine those stresses with our busy careers! Go easy on yourself. It’s ok if things get the better of you every once in awhile – it’s what you do about it that defines you. Take a deep breath, move on, and remember that we are all human.

Feel like everything else is getting the better of you and you’re falling behind with your job search? Let Consult help ease the stress! Sing out to the team today for a helping hand.

About the author

Angela Cameron - CA, CPA

Executive Director

A chartered accountant by qualification, she is a recruitment leader by nature.

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