Careers Advice - How to cope with a stressful workload

Published on: 9 May 2014


Working within planning can be very demanding and even the most organised of people can often find themselves working very long hours.

Ruth Hoggett, a
ssociate director at Beach Baker Property Recruitment looks at how to manage a stressful workload – balancing the need to show you are a hard worker whilst not burning yourself out.

Remember to prioritise. Look at application deadlines, which clients are the most demanding and which tasks require more work at different stages. Make a list which you can add to in a format that works best for you; this could be on paper pinned to your desk, in a diary, on a computer and the most immediate task at the top, this way the list gets shorter as you work your way through which helps your mind to cope with your workload.

Focus your time. Try to section your day into different areas to keep it interesting and focussed. After checking your emails first thing in the morning, plan your day and update your priority list in case any emails from that morning have required any amendments. Assign tasks to each section of your day. Think about the time of day you work at your best and allocate the most important/difficult tasks to that time. Try to keep 1 or 2 days a week when you finish on time and do something relaxing with your evening without taking work home.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Think about the structure of your team, are their junior planners that you could delegate some work to? If you are a junior yourself, are there enough of you to be able to cope with the work at hand? A manager is there to help and they are not going to know you are finding it difficult to cope unless you tell them. Ask for a meeting and address your concerns in a positive way i.e. instead of saying that you can’t cope, you could say that you can get the work done but need a little more time in light of other deadlines.

Try not to be overwhelmed by the number of tasks or deadlines at hand. After all, you can’t do all of them at the same time, so why worry about all of them at once? Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’, be mindful of saying no too often but it is perfectly acceptable to say that you cannot take on another task at that time or that you can do it but not immediately. Saying no when you genuinely feel you cannot do something is better than saying yes and not getting the job done well. Remember, a well-managed workload is vital to your job satisfaction and personal progression.