Overworked? Take a positive approach with your boss

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Business-1302849_1280Ever feel like you can’t get ahead of all the work that’s being thrown at you? Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and do your best, but if you’re in danger of making mistakes because you can’t keep up, or burning out from overwork, you owe it to your organization and yourself to address the problem before it’s too late. Talk to your boss and follow this advice:

  • Understand your manager’s approach. Find out where your boss is coming from. Is he or she data-driven, or focused on long-term results? Is your boss getting pressure from above? Get to know your supervisor’s priorities and you’ll do a better job of making your case.
  • Assemble your data. Before confronting your manager, take some time to record in detail everything you’re working on and how much time each task requires. Check to be sure that these activities are part of your job description (although you’ll want to avoid the “That’s not my job” approach). Be prepared to demonstrate how being spread too thin can negatively affect your job performance and hurt the organization.
  • Generate some options. Don’t simply demand that your manager reduce your workload. When you talk over the situation, be ready with some positive, practical suggestions. Maybe some tasks can be delegated to another employee, helping him or her develop new skills. Or perhaps some less-urgent projects can be placed on the back burner while you clear away your backlog. Your manager wants to see you taking responsibility, not shoving your problems up the ladder.