Awhile back, we invited you to slide into our DMs, and almost 300 of you wrote in with questions. We got some good ones, and we’re getting back to you here. This one’s from Monica in Canada.
“How do I get my boss to provide me with more resources and staff? Right now, I am running all the marketing for our business and I keep telling my boss we need to hire more people, but he doesn't listen and just expects me to do all the work. I'm so burnt out and overwhelmed. Please help!”
At a time when many companies are crunching numbers and cutting budgets, employees are often left with more work but fewer tools at their disposal.
While management might have its hands tied when it comes to hiring support staff, all is not lost. We called in Carly Williams, The Hustle Blog and Trends.co’s senior editorial manager, to lead the way.
Below, she shares advice on how to communicate effectively with your boss, manage your time, and fight burnout:
Organize your thoughts: When asking for more resources from your manager, spend some time to gather your thoughts and answer questions they might have preemptively.
“Before you meet with your boss, jot down a list of your primary tasks or responsibilities on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis,” says Williams.
Once you’ve solidified your list, sort it from highest to lowest priority, determine if all the tasks are necessary, and look for opportunities to change the cadence of tasks (turning daily tasks into weekly ones, for example).
Your manager will appreciate that you’ve done the legwork and organized your thoughts. This will allow for a more productive conversation where you can express why you feel burnt out or overwhelmed, and your boss can try to take things off your plate, if possible.
Tip: Williams says managers are often motivated by goal attainment and business impact. When asking for more resources, show what numbers/output you’d be capable of attaining alone versus what you could achieve with the requested help.
In the meantime: Take some steps to make your position more manageable. A good place to start is with your supervisor.
“Ask your boss to clarify your role,” Williams says. “If you’re feeling overwhelmed by competing priorities and everything on your plate feels urgent, ask your manager to clarify the expectations of your role and your goals.”
Once you have a better understanding of your priorities, and which tasks can be postponed or cut altogether, explore other options for relief. One question worth asking: If full-time support is off the table, would freelancers or contractors be an option, particularly during the busiest times of the year.
Another tip: Guard your time. If you’re feeling extra swamped from sitting in meetings all day and still have leftover work come 5pm, try blocking off time on your calendar to tackle your deadlines.
But don’t forget to schedule breaks! “You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make time throughout the day for things that boost your energy, like taking a walk or calling a friend,” says Williams.
- Know when to call it quits: As for when you should throw in the towel, Williams says that’s a personal decision that requires some introspection.
Some questions to consider:
1. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
2. Are you compromising your health or relationships?
3. Are you compromising your values?
If your boss and the company aren’t willing to help you manage your responsibilities and fight burnout, and the negativity from your work is impacting your personal life, it might be time to walk away.
If so, Williams advises being transparent with your manager about your decision and offering honest feedback during exit interviews.
Bottom line: Feeling overwhelmed at work can be stressful, particularly if your manager isn’t in a position to offer you reprieve.
But by using the above tips, you can chip away at your to-do list, prioritize your projects, and build a trusting relationship with your boss to pave the way for a better future.