Daily #35: At capacity

Today, for the first time, I started to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work assigned to me at the same time.

I’ve now been at my new job for nearly three months (and have nearly reached the end of my probation period). If I haven’t already mentioned it, this job marked a move from a the administrative field in which I held my first ‘proper job’ to a field I am passionate about and enjoy. My current job is as a content writer, providing blog articles, webpage content and other snippets for the company I work for. I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten this job, as I recognise it’s a tough field to break into.

The fact that it was only today that I began to reach my limits is more of a testament to my colleagues than myself. My main worry upon starting this job was that I’d have work sprung on me en masse, which I wouldn’t be able to handle. Fortunately, with the help of my managers and colleagues, my introduction to the company and the field as a whole has been gradual. As two of my colleagues used to be in my position, they have a good understanding of what is ‘too much too fast’, and have made sure to prevent me experiencing that.

However, in the last week, both my manager and one of those colleagues have made sure to ask me whether I feel I’m receiving too much work. This question was accompanied by them insisting that I do not need to say yes to everything that is asked of me. My answer to their question was that I didn’t feel overwhelmed yet, and their advice gave me food for thought.

Firstly, I’m not the type to say no to requests. I have a deeply ingrained habit of trying to please everyone, and was brought up not to disappoint. My mum is also this type, and tends to live at a heightened state of stress. One would think that after watching her panic for the umpteenth time about having too much to do – all for other people – I would pick up that this might not be the best way of going about things. But alas, here we are.

Secondly, this is the first job that I’ve had in this field, and also the first job where I’m truly responsible for my own workload. Despite this quality being stressed when applying for my old office job, my role was simply to take a case from a list, process it, and move onto the next one. Therefore, I honestly have no bearing on what my ‘maximum capacity’ is. Thus, the only way of solving this problem is to hit that capacity first, fail to reach a deadline, and learn from it. The word ‘atychiphobia’ springs to mind.

Today, I nearly reached that limit. It was in the form of around five different requests, all made on short notice, for things that need to be done by the end of the week due to the impending Christmas break. For the first time, I had to ‘delegate’ a task to my colleague, who had offered to pick it up for me. I felt like I had failed in this, but I’m determined not to make the same mistake again.

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