Mental Tricks to Deal with the Massive Workload


When we talk about workload, the image that comes to our mind is a desk full of piles of files. Nowadays, hardly can you see this scenario for real as there no more paperwork now, but, the situation hasn’t changed at all. The workload still remains or maybe we can say is getting bigger and bigger.

The overwhelming workload is that phase where a person is busy to really busy to so busy that he/she feels paralyzed and clueless as what and where to begin and end up doing nothing. We understand massive action brings massive results, but it doesn’t mean you have to do all on your own.

“Feeling overwhelmed is actually a stress response when we feel the demand on us outweighs our resources,” says Diana Dawson, career psychologist and owner of Working Career. Feeling out of control and under pressure is a form of emotional overloading and can also trigger the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, she says.

It’s not that only you have 24 hours a day, everyone has, then why some people are able to manage everything while you are pinning yourself down. Well, you too can if you practice these few simple mental tricks.

Mental Tricks

Som Bathla, an author at Medium, has shared a mental trick to get rid of such overwhelming workload known as 4D/A Rule. This rule is on the premise that for any activity in front of you, you have to make either of these choices amongst 4Ds and A. Next time any activity, which comes to you, you have to test that activity on the barometer of 4D/A. It means you have to categorize that activity into any of the below-stated actions:

  • Delete it;
  • Defer it,
  • Delegate;
  • Do it,
  • Automate it.

Massive Workload

Delete it —  For sure not all work is to be done the day itself. Learn to let go. Prioritize your work and skip all those that can wait or are not that important to you. For eg. tons of email just marked a cc to you, which require no inputs from you and even no action from you in near future. So, delete them from your to-do list of today.

Defer it — Postpone it to a later time depending on the level of prioritization.

Delegate it —  Share the load. if you think, the work doesn’t require specialized expertise of your level and someone else can take care of it instead of you, pass it on. Assign the work to that person and take up the next one.

Do it — Of course, the work which has to be done by you must be done by you only. So, if your work does not fit into any of the above categories and it requires you specific involvement and use of your intellectual (unless you can automate it further), then you have to plan to do it yourself in the committed timelines.

Automate it —  In today’s world when everything is becoming high-tech, you might get your work done using some systems and putting some time upfront, so if there’s such a way, make use of it and automate your work activity. For eg. setting up automated bill payments for your electricity, telephone, mobile, broadband, satellite TV, any magazine subscriptions, etc. It will only take time once to set up those, but then, you never have to do it again for months and years.

So keep in mind these trick and whenever you feel like there are too many things on your plate, apply the 4D/A Rule and then proceed. As, by minimizing the number of activities on your plate, you have a sense of liberation, and you can push the rock of procrastination out of your head.

Apart from this practice, the following are the few other tips that will help;p you beat your stress and stop feeling overloaded.

  • Think big and start small. Start with small tasks and finish one by one. The feeling of completion will give you further motivation to move on to your next task. Remember, a little momentum is better than none.
  • Talk. Inform your senior/boss about your workload. Don’t suffer in silence. “Explain to your boss the tasks you are involved in, how long they take, the resources they require, why you find them challenging, and practical suggestions for a solution,” suggests Sarah Connell, a business psychologist and founder of MindingMe Psychologists.
  • Learn to say no. This applies not just to your work, but in your life as well. According to psychotherapist and life coach Hilda Burke, “people often say yes to everything because they think if they do not obey rules they will be rejected. In a working environment, people might think they are lucky to have a job, so it is best to keep their head down and not fuss, she says. “Challenging this type of work programming can take some time, but it can be done.” “Saying no shows your busy already, which can be a good message to give out,” she says.
  • Take a break, eat healthy, stay healthy. When in workload, what we all do is putting our health at a greater risk. Lack of sleep, junk food consumption, skipping exercise, coffee, cigarettes, all this are stress traits. Its okay to take a break in between and relax. Always keep your health as your first priority. Give your mind and body, proper rest.


Work will keep on coming, but, your life won’t. So, don’t try to burden yourself up and take up things more than you could bear. You are no superhuman to do everything the day itself. Analyze, prioritize and then try to slowly and steadily win the race as rushing won’t do any good.