Feeling Overwhelmed? Strategies to Overcome Work and Personal Obstacles

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March 1, 2012

HR professionals wear many hats. When you work in HR, the moment you take off one hat, another one pops into place.  One minute you’re thinking like a recruiter, the next you’re handling an employee relations issue, the next you are strategizing with a leader on a plan or program.  One hat I like wearing is that of coach and counselor.  I use my skill and experience to guide managers and employees and often, it spills over to family and friends.

Regardless of whether I am at work or at home, there are people who need advice and guidance on how to best respond to certain situations.  Quite frequently, it involves the individual being completely overwhelmed with the demands that others put on them and that they put on themselves.  Even I have fallen prey to these feelings in the past.  There is one exercise I have found to be helpful in this situation.  I call it the One Small Thing.

Here’s how it works:

  • Make a list that includes each area of your life where you feel overwhelmed. For example, work, spouse, children, personal.
  • Now, each day do one small thing that can ultimately lead to change in that area of your life.
    • For example, if the problem is your job and you think you can repair the relationship, one small thing may be scheduling a call with your boss and communicating more. If you feel like you need to move on and repairing the situation is not an option, use each day to make one call to someone in your network who can help you find a new position.
    • If the issue is at home with your children, the one small thing might be asking them to spend time taking a walk or talking with you, going on a bike ride, finding something around the house to work on together.
    • If the issue is personal and you’re not building in any time for your personal interests, the one small thing may be to commit to scheduling at least fifteen minutes a day to do something selfish, just for your enjoyment.
  • Each day, keep track of what you’re doing in each category.

If you follow the ‘one small thing’ exercise, I guarantee that after a couple weeks, you’ll find that you’re much father ahead in creating situations where you can be successful and fulfilled.  By approaching a problem in incremental steps, you will find that you are no longer overwhelmed.  You will be taking control over the things you CAN control and that is the right approach.

Know of other ways people in this situation can overcome the obstacles?  Share with me in the comments…

One Comment

  • “you’ll find that you’re much father ahead in creating situations where you can be successful and fulfilled.”

    Still not a dad (except if you count my bunny Trixie as a child), so I guess I won’t be father ahead any time soon. But I am fulfilled at home.

    Seriously- You bring up some good points. This is just like getting into the habit of doing small amount of house work daily so that the weekend isn’t completely dominated by house work.

    When I am overwhelmed, I tend to escape, which is probably the worst technique I could think of. The problems still exist and are festering whilst gone. The bright side is that even though my career is sucking so badly, my drum chops have developed significantly during my escape time!!! But I am about to encounter the big intersection of career planning once again, and I may have to take a turn. Just gotta get a plan. And I will use your techniques. Thanks for the good stuff!!!

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.

HR HAPPY HOUR LIVE! TALENT ACQUISITION & ONBOARDING

THE FUTURE OF WORK

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