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I am constantly feeling overwhelmed in this job and there is never a sense of comfort. I remember being someone who liked challenges, but one at a time. My job is really good for someone who is experienced more than I am. I constantly feel performance pressure, as I find it difficult to juggle so many challenges daily.

I work in a small team that has slowly undertaken quite a lot of work in new areas. I feel anxious in all meetings, almost panicking every time a new task / work is added to the backlog. I did not feel this way when the number of my tasks was less, and the pace of the project was slower.

It is like having to learn too many new things, look at too many new tasks instead of focussing on two at a time. I have tried to do time-management sessions and have started on meditation, but really wonder sometimes if I must change my project / team.

How do I deal with a job that is fast paced and demanding, and how do I effectively push back?

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    Why are you telling us instead of your manager? What is your question? – Kevin Jun 18 '14 at 8:18
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How do I deal with a job that is fast paced and demanding, and how do I effectively push back?

If you haven't already done so, you must bring this up with your boss soon. Issues like this are always best handled by communicating with the person or persons who can help - in this case it's your boss.

Tell her/him how you are feeling about your work. Ask for suggestions as to what you might do.

Your boss might tell you not to be so worried - that your performance is fine.

Or, your boss might decide to scale back your responsibilities for a while.

Or, you and your boss together might decide that this role doesn't fit you well, and work together to find a new role with a better fit - either in the company, or elsewhere.

I've been in a similar situation myself some years ago. I was in a role that wasn't working out well for me. I spoke with my boss and we found a way to adjust the role to better suit my abilities.

I've also had people on my team in similar situations. For some, they just needed reassurance that their progress was fine and that they were being overly-critical of themselves. For others, their progress just wasn't sufficient, and we needed to change things for them.

Just don't ignore the issue. Deal with it head on - you'll feel better in the end.

  • Also to keep in mind both for you and your boss, that if the employee feels overwhelmed, they will likely not even come close to fulfilling your potential. Boss tells you to do ten things and you do three badly because you feel overwhelmed, but if you had been told to do seven things you might have managed all seven just fine. – gnasher729 Jun 27 '14 at 22:43
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1 - Talk to your boss. @Joe_Strazzere is right about that one. Get feedback on the expectations of your work and your performance. You can't know what your boss thinks without asking.

2 - As you receive work, or as current assignments grow in scope, take action and figure out with your boss or with other key stakeholders which work is most important. Start collecting information on how long certain common types of work take, and be prepared with estimates. Make it clear the relative work levels of what's on your plate.

3 - Get a sense on what "good enough" is. Hopefully we all have a high bar for creating great output at work, but there are times when a quick and dirty job done with as little effort as possible is better than trying to go all out and delaying other work. When you and your boss make a decision that shoddy/fast work is OK, make a note, and/or send an email confirming it, so you have a written record in case someone later says "this thing is poorly made".

4 - Set boundaries and stick to them. My strategy is to make a shared calendar appointment, accept no meetings during the time, and to let my boss know. Everyone needs time off, everyone needs food and rest, and everyone has some small number of errands and tasks that take them out of the office in the daytime. Don't let your life get eaten by your work. When you make a personal life commitment, make work aware and stick to it. If your work starts acting like your personal health and welfare don't matter, look for other employment.

  • Thanks @bethlakshmi! I have taken some key points in my notes. My new sprint will start soon and i am very eager to put these into practise and see the effect! Wish me luck – nysa Jun 30 '14 at 2:07
  • But 1 more thing. Because i am constantly overwhelmed, i panic now for how each day at work will go. i literally panic. Any advice on how to deal with this till i put the above takes effect? – nysa Jun 30 '14 at 2:09
  • Work a regular work day (not a super long one trying to get everything done). Take some extra time and take a look at the work remaining, and make a detailed time estimate of the work remaining. Make a comprehensive list. Schedule an appointment with your boss in the morning and ask for priorities. Start with the big picture, and ask which major task is most important. In the discussion you may get questions, and the detailed tasks will help you. Don't accept 'they are all important', and don't leave the meeting without a directive. – bethlakshmi Jul 2 '14 at 3:28

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