What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed by the amount of work on your plate? We’ve all been there: over-committing socially and professionally, balancing a million tasks, and getting burnt out in the process. This past year, I left a highly-stressful career in order to find my “purpose” and create my own path to success. I’m now launching a website, contributing to multiple blogs, freelance brand consulting, and taking on odd jobs to keep me afloat. I genuinely love the work that I’m doing (and the couch I’m doing it from), but I’ve been consistently putting in 12-hour work days and working weekends just to get it all done.

As a result, I had begun to struggle with sleep, felt foggy during the day, and became guilty whenever I took breaks. My boyfriend even started calling me “Robo Ry” because I was becoming so preoccupied with my work that I wasn’t engaging in any regular conversation. Financial concerns, deadlines, details, meetings…OH MY! It’s easy to get to a place where you feel like you can’t disconnect from work for fear of drowning forever.

So, what’s the solution to being overwhelmed?

What to do When You're Overwhelmed

What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed

“When things aren’t adding up in your life, start subtracting.” – Anonymous

If the scales are tipping between your work and personal life, what can you let go of to allow for a healthier state of mind?

As soon as I was dubbed “Robo Ry” (albeit only for a few days), I knew I needed to take a step back, rearrange my schedule, and allow the “fun me” to resurface.

I decided to invest more time, money, and resources into my website and spend less time chasing down odd jobs and scattered writing opportunities. Not being pulled in so many directions already has me feeling more confident and in control of my schedule.

Although I’m still a work in progress when it comes to taking on too much, I do know when it’s time to slow down and make some changes.

If you are feeling overworked, I’ve found that it helps to consider the following:

1. Can the work be delegated?

It’s easy to try do it all yourself,but there’s usually someone who can help—and it will relieve your stress!

2. Is my “contributing work” getting me closer to my goals over the next  months?

This applies to creatives or anyone that may offer free work to gain exposure.

3. Am I spending too long on a task that should be outsourced to a specialist?

Do your research and provide options to your superiors.

4. Who do I know who could help me with this task?

If outsourcing isn’t an option, would any of your friends be willing to talk you through it over coffee?

5. How can I communicate to my boss that I’m drowning?

Write down everything you are working on and what your challenges are and then practice explaining it to friends and family.

It may sound nerve-racking to admit that you can’t do it all,but employers don’t exactly want you pulling your hair out either!

Taking on too much = increased risk of error + lower quality work.

That doesn’t “add up” for anyone, now does it?

Everybody gets stressed out, but it’s on us to speak up and communicate how we’re feeling.

So if you’re reaching burn-out,something’s gotta give! What can you delegate and what can you do without?

Start subtracting.

Ryan Burch Ryan is a freelance writer & brand strategist based in Santa Monica, CA. She is the cofounder of SOLO (www.sheonlylivesonce.com), a website dedicated to helping women find their strongest, most authentic selves. She is a regular contributor  to Career Contessa, The Western Wild, Elana Lyn and Simply Stylist. Her writing has also been featured on Refinery29, Levo League and WeWork. 

Image via Style Me Pretty

4 Responses to What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed

  1. Thank you Ryan and Elana for sharing this post! I can certainly relate to it as I am working a full-time job and trying to find time for freelance writing and blogging, which is my passion. Ryan – I admire you for making a career change and creating your own path! Wishing you much happiness and success in your endeavors.


    • Elana Lyn Gross says:

      I’m so glad that you like the post. I thought it was so helpful. I admire Ryan too and am thrilled that she’s writing for Elana Lyn!

  2. Excellent counsel! Thank you Ryan 🙂

    • Elana Lyn Gross says:

      So glad you liked the post! We’ll be featuring more of Ryan’s advice and insights. Stay tuned!

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