Think about it, what’s the number one complaint or response you often hear from your friends or colleagues when you ask them how things are going for them?

“It’s okay, just very busy with work la, so stressful!”

Sound familiar? It may not be in those words exactly but work and their stressful days are most likely the common response. We rarely hear anyone say “Great! I’m managing work-life balance really well and I have time for my personal hobbies too! I love life!”. But wouldn’t it be great if we could say that?

Related: 5 Simple Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief


Here are a few tips that might help you feel less overwhelmed and take charge of your day.

1. Make compromises and trade-offs

You can’t possibly achieve everything. This is the critical rule No.1 that you need to accept before we go any further. Accept that you are human and that you are capable of doing so much with your limited time. This means, if you’re going to decide to work on ‘Task A’, then accept that ‘Task B’ has to be compromised/traded-off. Delegate it. Or just let it slide through your task list into a deep dark hole where you’ll never see it again. It couldn’t have been that important anyway.

2. Respect your most productive hours AND your body

Again, we’re only human and though we’d like to think we can operate as efficient as machines do with the advance of technology, well sorry to break it to you ladies – we can’t. Burn out is very real and it’s happening more often. We all have our most productive hours, and our least. Hone in on these hours (if you have the flexibility and time to do so) and get the bulk of your work done within this time. When you’re running low on energy and close to burning out, respect that your body needs rest and give it the break it needs. You are of no use to anybody if you keep pushing yourself beyond your limits, time and time again.


3. Manage expectations at your workplace

Here’s a little trick, that though may seem dubious at first, is actually very ‘strategic’. If you’re seen as someone who is capable of everything, who is efficient, and who delivers her tasks ahead of schedule – win, right? Well yes, but you’re also setting yourself up to be the one who gets burdened with a heavier workload, as the one who gets asked 101 questions because you seem to know how to do everything. We don’t want this. Manage the expectations by feigning (faking) your inability to do something – especially if it’s of low importance. Printer machine is jammed? “Oops sorry I have no idea what’s wrong” and go back to your work. Don’t try to be the office hero especially when you have technicians in your workplace that are hired to do the fixing for you.

4. Give yourself more time, not less

We often underestimate how much time it takes to complete a task. Sure, we might think we could sort out a relatively simple task in an hour, but give yourself a buffer to factor in any unforeseen distractions, last minute-meetings, approval processes, etc. This reduces the stress on you. Manage expectations of your colleagues and this will help everyone lead a happier time at work.


5. Spend less time talking about how ‘busy’ you are, and act

You might meet this person very often in your office. She/He spends a lot of time talking about how busy she/he is – how many projects they are working on, the unrelenting pile of to-do lists, the e-mails, the late nights, the working weekends… We need to stop this because we are all busy. It may differ in varying levels, but we each have our own tolerance levels and each have our own roles in the company. It isn’t fair to add your anxiety to somebody else and the more you keep telling yourself that “I’m so busy” the more overwhelmed you will feel and the less you will do. Stop repeating yourself, take a break, create a to-do list of your five most critical items, and get them done.

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