Feeling Overworked? Here’s How To Tell Your Boss That You’re Approaching Burnout

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Mar. 5 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Feeling overworked can have consequences on the well-being and productivity of employees. It’s essential for employees to feel comfortable when discussing their workload with their boss, as well as exploring potential solutions together. Effective communication, clarity around expectations, and a willingness to adapt to workflows are key factors in addressing overwork in the workplace.

Keep scrolling for more tips and tricks on how to tell your boss you’re overworked.

1. Be specific.

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When raising your concerns with your boss, it’s imperative to provide as much context as necessary to drive your point home. The key lies in the details.

Schedule a meeting: Start by arranging a one-on-one meeting with your supervisor to voice your concerns about feeling overworked. This step provides a safe, dedicated space for a constructive conversation.

Provide specific examples: Experts at Indeed emphasize the importance of providing specific examples of tasks or projects that are overwhelming you when discussing your workload. This explanation helps your boss understand the extent of your workload and identify potential solutions.

Highlight impact on quality: Explain how being overworked has impacted the quality of your work. For example, you may be missing deadlines, or the quality of deliverables might suffer due to time constraints.

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2. Lead with solutions.

Always come to the table with solutions. It’s one thing to raise a problem (amateur hour) and another to come prepared with a fully baked solution that meets everyone’s needs!

Discuss time management strategies: Suggest revisiting time management strategies to help you prioritize tasks. This step could involve delegating specific responsibilities, setting realistic deadlines, or utilizing productivity tools. That said, it may be helpful to first document current processes. This move helps identify gaps ahead of your chat.

Propose workflow optimization: Consider offering suggestions for optimizing workflows or processes to increase efficiency. This move might involve streamlining communication channels, eliminating unnecessary steps, or automating repetitive tasks.

Request additional resources: If possible, request additional resources or support to help manage your workload. This step could include additional team members, access to specialized software, or training opportunities to improve efficiency.

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3. Lean on your network for support to prepare.

Unsure how to approach the situation? There is power (and experience) in numbers. Never shy away from asking for guidance where needed. Begin by identifying your deal breakers. In addition, address what you believe to be the root cause of the problem and create an action plan.

Seek a second opinion: If you’re unsure whether your workload is reasonable, seek a second opinion from a trusted colleague or mentor. They can provide valuable perspective and advice on how to approach the situation. If necessary, their feedback can help talk you off of a ledge.

Discuss work-life balance: Emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Describe how overwork is affecting your well-being and productivity, and analyze potential solutions to attain a better balance.

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Set clear expectations: Clarify expectations with your boss regarding your workload and available resources. This ensures that both parties are on the same page and can work together to find a solution. Experts suggest that when you have too much to do, it’s both considerate and a smart business move to provide help where you can. 

Liane Davey, cofounder of 3COze Inc. and author of “You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done,” offered the following example during an interview with Harvard Business Review.

“I don’t feel that I can take on [this project] without doing a disservice to the other work I’ve committed to, but I can carve out time in my schedule to provide direction to the person who is going to do it,” she told the outlet.

Follow up regularly: After discussing your workload with your boss, follow up to monitor progress and address any ongoing concerns. Your dedication to finding solutions and addressing issues with a sense of urgency showcases proactive problem-solving and fosters efficient resolution.

By incorporating these strategies, there’s potential to reach a mutual understanding with your boss. As a result, you can establish a collaborative path forward. Do you have personal tips on how to tell your boss you’re overworked? Share your expertise in the comment section below!

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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