Let’s not beat around the bush; every single one of us has felt overwhelmed while we were at work. Sometimes deadlines creep up on us, other times we are faced with tasks so large it seems like we could work for years and never get close to finishing what we started. The feeling of pressure and anticipation can impact your sleep, personal life, and your work performance. 

So how do you overcome the intense feeling of being overwhelmed while you’re at work? 

We are going to look at four tips you should keep in mind when you feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope at work. These tips apply to virtually every industry and can help you make the most of feeling overwhelmed. 

Wrap Up Pending Projects

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you should step back and look at all of your pending tasks that you started, but never quite finished. Often, a ton of small jobs with close due dates can cause pressure, and that makes focusing difficult. 

If you find yourself in this position, make a list of all the tasks you’ve started that have upcoming due dates. Complete these small projects one at a time until you’re only left with tasks that you haven’t yet started. 

This tactic will give you a mental “fresh slate” and allow you to work without that nagging feeling that you have other projects that need your attention. 

Segment Large Projects into Smaller Tasks 

Now that you only have large, untouched tasks on the table, it’s time to break those projects down into smaller daily goals. It’s shocking how much you can accomplish if you look at large undertakings as small, everyday tasks. 

As you approach the end of your list, you’ll have one large project complete over a predetermined time. It’s far less overwhelming to look at simple, manageable projects compared to a looming goliath of a task hanging over your head. 

We recommend using a daily planner or online calendar to keep track of what you hope to accomplish every day, versus how much you were able to get done. This method of tracking helps you learn how much work you can handle in a day, which makes task management and planning easier, which results in a schedule that is manageable and far from overwhelming. 

Take Short Breaks Regularly 

Everyone always talks about the importance of breaks, but how you take breaks can have a significant impact on your state of mind and workload. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to sit down and relax for a full hour break. However, a small 15-minute break can have a positive impact on your mood and help prepare you for the next task. 

You can choose to take a micro-break after completing a project, or you could relax after reaching a milestone. Some people swear by working for an hour and forty-five minutes followed by a 15-minute break for a total of two hours. They do this all day long and insist that it improves their productivity and reduces the feelings of stress that come with being overwhelmed. 

Learn from Your Mistakes

The last tip on our list stems from the idea that life is full of things that are either controllable or uncontrollable. Accepting that things have different outcomes based on decisions, you’re unable to make can help you cope with the idea of feeling overwhelmed. 

In many cases, getting behind on work and feeling stressed is a self-inflicted condition. If you want to reduce your overall stress at work, start looking at times when you feel stressed and think about whether there was anything you could do to change the outcome. 

For example, are you feeling overwhelmed because you’re tired and don’t get enough sleep? This is a factor that you do have control over, and recognizing that fact can help you manage your stress. When you understand that sometimes you cause your own stress at work, you can make smart choices in the future that prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.  


The Anxiety and Depressions Association of American recently announced that they learned from a survey that 72 percent of people claimed to have stress and said that it interferes with their lives. A staggering 56 percent of those people said that their anxiety affects their work performance, with 55 percent citing the leading cause of their stress as deadlines. 

We all feel overwhelmed; it’s only natural. If you want to make the most of your day, you have to learn to identify and solve these issues before they affect your work performance and personal lives. You can conquer the challenges in your life, but it’s up to you to take the first step.