You settle down to start the day, turn on your computer and find your inbox full of emails. You look at your to-do list and see an endless number of tasks. Your calendar is booked up with meetings throughout the week. You’ve only been logged in for ten minutes and already feel overwhelmed, unable to decide what to work on first.
This is an example of decision paralysis. When presented with too many options, we can find it difficult to settle on one choice and end up not picking anything at all. This can often happen in the workplace when we are confronted with a daunting number of tasks to complete. Procrastination kicks in; the day goes by, and no progress is made.
Putting off work may seem like a good idea in the short-term, but it can negatively affect your mental health. Tasks pile up, deadlines approach, your schedule is packed, and your anxiety is sky high. If not addressed, this can quickly turn into a downward spiral and affect your future work ethic.
Here are some ways to combat decision paralysis and help you to become productive at work again:
Prioritise your tasks
Write down every task you need to do and organise them in order of importance. The most demanding tasks should be completed in the morning while your mind is still fresh. Simple tasks can be done later in the day, making the afternoon slump less taxing.
Don’t overthink it, just do it
This may be easier said than done, but overthinking can lead to anxiety and self-pressure, discouraging you from starting a task. Often, the hardest part of doing work is simply starting it. Once you get past that hurdle, everything will be a lot easier to manage. You’ll be on track with your tasks and feel accomplished.
Put a time limit on tasks
Instead of trying to work on several projects at the same time, flicking back and forth and making very little progress on any of them, dedicate a block of time to each individual task. This should help you to manage your time more efficiently and improve your focus by concentrating on one thing at a time.
Talk to someone
Discussing with a colleague about which tasks are most important and the progress you are making, can help to clear your mind. Additionally, receiving some positive feedback from peers can help with motivation and reassure you that you are on the right track. Alternatively, if you are struggling with the workload, you should approach your manager and ask for help with resolving the situation.
The Development Zone hosts a range of courses to help with decision paralysis and stress in the office, including Time Management, Anxiety in the Workplace, and Asking for Help at Work.
If you’re not already signed up to the system, see what e-learning can do for your firm by visiting https://www.mydevelopment.zone for a 14-day free trial.