Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 18, Issue 7;   February 14, 2018: How to Get Overwhelmed

How to Get Overwhelmed

by

Last updated: August 8, 2018

Here's a field manual for those who want to get overwhelmed by all the work they have to do. If you're already overwhelmed, it might explain how things got that way.
Overwhelmed

Being overwhelmed at work can be both terrible and wonderful. Terrible, in the sense that it wrings all the fun out of the job, because of the long hours at work, and the sleepless nights spent mentally picking through all the tasks undone. But being overwhelmed is wonderful in the sense that it provides the clearest possible proof that only your dedication and stellar performance protects your employer from catastrophes in the marketplace, and the otherwise inevitable bankruptcy.

So if you want to feel important, being overwhelmed is definitely for you. Here are six tips for creating an overwhelming feeling of being overwhelmed.

Say yes to everything
Whenever anybody asks for anything, drop whatever you're doing and do as they ask, even if what they want isn't part of your actual job. Although this takes time you could use to do your job, you also lose time trying to get back to doing whatever you were doing before you were interrupted. If you can't drop whatever you were doing, promise to fill the request "as soon as I can," and add it to the clutter already clogging your brain.
Set each task's priority to "Extremely Urgent"
Being discriminating If you want to feel important,
being overwhelmed is
definitely for you
about priorities focuses your mind and your effort on a single item, which helps you complete tasks quickly. We definitely don't want that. It interferes with feeling overwhelmed. Setting all task priorities to "Extremely Urgent" prevents your focusing on any one task.
Spend too much time on things you like to do
Dawdling over tasks you enjoy is actually a form of procrastination. It helps you defer everything else, and since you're doing something semi-constructive, you don't experience the anxiety and guilt that accompanies straightforward procrastination.
Refuse to use any tools that could make you more efficient
In some instances, tools are available to eliminate work, or to make work more efficient. Don't learn how to use them. If you already know how to use them, and you can't figure out how to forget, think of good excuses to avoid using them. Examples: the tool is buggy; it produced wrong results on April 10, 2003, so I never use it; the user interface keeps changing; it doesn't run in my operating system; whatever.
Do other people's work for them
When people ask you how to do something, don't tell them how. Instead, do it for them. You don't want them to learn, because then they won't ask you anymore, which decreases your sense of importance.
Underestimate the time required to complete tasks
Underestimates serve two purposes. First, they create the illusion that you have time enough to take on additional tasks. Second, they help you believe that you can meet impossible deadlines. Both illusions are important to maintaining a state of being overwhelmed.

I have several more suggestions, but I don't want to overwhelm you. Go to top Top  Next issue: The Ultimate Attribution Error at Work  Next Issue

How to Spot a Troubled Project Before the Trouble StartsProjects never go quite as planned. We expect that, but we don't expect disaster. How can we get better at spotting disaster when there's still time to prevent it? How to Spot a Troubled Project Before the Trouble Starts is filled with tips for executives, senior managers, managers of project managers, and sponsors of projects in project-oriented organizations. It helps readers learn the subtle cues that indicate that a project is at risk for wreckage in time to do something about it. It's an ebook, but it's about 15% larger than "Who Moved My Cheese?" Just . Order Now! .

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Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

An abandoned railwayComing August 21: Perfectionism and Avoidance
Avoiding tasks we regard as unpleasant, boring, or intimidating is a pattern known as procrastination. Perfectionism is another pattern. The interplay between the two makes intervention a bit tricky. Available here and by RSS on August 21.
A dog playing catch with a discAnd on August 28: Playing at Work
Eight hours a day — usually more — of meetings, phone calls, reading and writing email and text messages, briefing others or being briefed, is enough to drive anyone around the bend. To re-energize, to clarify one's perspective, and to restore creative capacity, play is essential. Play at work, I mean. Available here and by RSS on August 28.

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