Best Thing To Do When You’re Overwhelmed with Work


As you continue striving for greatness, you’re inevitably going to meet moments of transition and hardship. Whether it be graduating from school, getting your first real job, getting laid off, losing a loved one, moving to another country, or getting married, these transitions are going to hit hard.

Perhaps you’ve dealt with a situation like this before already.

Remember when you realized you took on way too many responsibilities at work? Or that time you were involved in too many organizations and held too many leadership positions? Or when you were studying for your exams and realized you took on too large of a course load?

Remember being overwhelmed? By the time you realize it, it’s a too late to plan ahead of time.

You have 4 options.

These defining moments hit you when you least expect it. When thrown into such situations, it may seem like life-or-death and you become paralyzed.

You have to make a decision and your options boil down to:

  1. Drop everything and give up
  2. Complain about all the work you have to do
  3. Drop a few responsibilities to lessen the weight
  4. Hustle to complete everything you set out to do

Although option four is the most difficult, it is the best choice, with number three as the next best option (you will probably do a bit of number two as well).

It’s not just about working harder or smarter.

Hustling is better than working harder or smarter. Hustling involves a combination of working both hard and smart with a little extra umph. Hustling means to be aggressive or force one’s way, to work energetically. When you decide to step up and push your limits, you can’t be passive. You must be active, you must be aggressive and push forward.

You have to stay cool, strategize, and own the situation. You have to hustle.

This is how I hustled.

The last time I was extremely overwhelmed with work was–surprise–in college.

I was taking a class about radiochemistry techniques and an advanced organic synthesis lab, committed to 20 hours of research a week and working 12 hours a week in retail. I was also VP of a dance organization and starting my first business in addition to some smaller projects.

Looking back, I realize that I could’ve given up. I could’ve been easier on myself. I could’ve asked for less hours at work, put less hours into research or dropped a class. But I chose not to sell myself short. I forced myself to work efficiently, to work hard and smart, and to find a way to enjoy everything I did. I made every second count. I hustled.

I brainstormed for my business while I ran experiments. I practiced singing while walking. The monotony of working in retail allowed me to mentally review chemistry concepts. I took an hour each night to schedule the next day by the hour. I learned to move from one thing to another, turning switches in my brain on and off, redirecting my attention and learning to focus on the topic of importance in each situation.

My social life was almost non-existent, but the sacrifice was worth it because I came out stronger, smarter, and more capable.

You probably have been or will be in the same position, or a more difficult situation.

What do you get when you hustle?

When you choose to hustle, you not only fulfill your responsibilities–you push your personal limits. You grow. You realize that you’re more capable than you thought.

No one else can make you realize that.

When you decide to push your limits, your brain kicks into overdrive mode to increase your output. You take a huge step toward unlocking your potential. After completing everything, you realize you’re capable of taking on a volume of work that you would’ve been overwhelmed by before. Your confidence increases and you believe you can achieve more in the future.

By hustling, you turn an obstacle into an opportunity for success.

Hustlin’, Hustlin’

As you continue to become comfortable with more and more work, productivity and hustling become natural elements in your daily life. This is not limited to work or academics. This applies to any situation that involves completing a task whether it be planning a party, organizing a dinner, completing a project, or starting your own business.

It’s easy to take on a lot of responsibilities and tell people how much work you have to do–it’s easy to give off the perception of being busy. It’s an entirely different thing to actually do everything you say you’re doing and hustling to get where you want to be.

The next time you feel overwhelmed, remember that it’s a brief moment of hardship that will contribute to your long-term development.

It’s about the hustle.

Let us know what you’re hustling to accomplish in the comments below!

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Image source: Karl Orotea

David Ly Khim
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David Ly Khim

Co-Founder at The UP Lab
David Ly Khim is a blogger, marketer, dancer, and do-er working to help you realize your significance to the world. He is pursuing a profession in digital marketing.
David Ly Khim
Follow me!

Author: David Ly Khim

David Ly Khim is a blogger, marketer, dancer, and do-er working to help you realize your significance to the world. He is pursuing a profession in digital marketing.

6 thoughts on “Best Thing To Do When You’re Overwhelmed with Work”

  1. Yes, you’re right. Hustling does make you stronger. It makes you more drown to accomplishing things in areas YOU want. It also gives us the beautiful illusion we are on control of every tiny piece of our lives. Controlling every second of your life may as well make you feel like you’re doing everything you want, but what is it worth if you don’t have anyone to share it with at the end of the day? I’m not saying that everybody should have a relationship. But having a social life is very important to practice our sense of community, rather than pushing our individualism to even greater levels. It’s time to practice other aspects of our personality. Specially the ones that make ourselves more human.

    1. Thalita,

      You’re absolutely right about that. As human beings, socializing is necessary to maintain a sense of community. Working all the time is not for everyone. I understand that. I mentioned in the article that we will be met with short periods of hardship (hustling, no social life) that allow for growth which will help you realize your capabilities for the future. In no way am I encouraging a life of all work and no play.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

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