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 youabout 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.
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- Most meetings could be shorter, less frequent, and more productive than they are. Part of the problem is that we don't realize how much we do to get in our own way. If we track the incidents of dysfunctional activity, we can use the data to spot trends and take corrective action. Available here and by RSS on March 6.
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