Whether you’re a proven team manager, young executive, or entrepreneur, there’s a good chance that you either feel overwhelmed or that you will soon. In fact, a recent study from the Families and Work Institute found that more than half of U.S. employees feel overworked at least some of the time. Managers are statistically the least happy and most stressed category in the American workforce, but overwork is a problem at all levels. There’s simply too much work to go around and not enough time to do it, and our always-on society isn’t helping matters, either.
There are signs you can look for to determine whether you’re just temporarily busy or if you’re truly stuck in a rut of overwork. To evaluate your own situation, ask yourself these questions—we’ve even included some points for each if you like quizzes.
If your results point to a need for additional support, it might be time to hire college students who can work as Micro-Interns and take one-off projects off your plate so you can focus on more important things.
You’re doing too much of the work you shouldn’t be doing.
If you want to succeed in your career and grow your company, you need to focus your time where it’s most valuable. Your time should be spent on projects that you’re uniquely suited for, not tasks that just about anyone could do. Should someone who can close deals really be crunching lists? Should a CEO really be posting on social media? Should a recruiter really be pulling demographic data on universities?
If you have too much work on your plate that someone else—like a more junior team member, intern or freelancer—could handle instead, you need to find a way to delegate so you can focus on what matters most.
- 5 points: You’re still doing all or most of the same tasks you were responsible for years ago but have also taken on more advanced, strategic responsibilities.
- 10 points: You’ve attempted to delegate tasks that don’t maximize your value to another team member but they fell back onto your plate.
- 10 points: You repeatedly put proactive projects on the backburner because you have too many reactive tasks on a regular basis.
- 15 points: You don’t have enough support on your team to delegate your tasks even if you tried.
You always feel busy, but aren’t getting fulfillment from your work.
Sometimes, putting in long hours can be rewarding. But that’s only true when you’re doing interesting, mentally stimulating work. Few people feel a sense of accomplishment after spending countless hours on tasks that don’t excite or challenge them, and that’s especially true if you’re in a management or leadership role.
Why spend your time bogged down by work that doesn’t fulfill you when you could hire college students for short-term projects and free up your time to focus on work that fires you up?
- 5 points: You’ve spent a major chunk of your evenings or weekends this month doing work you didn’t enjoy.
- 10 points: You constantly feel pulled away from the work you’re most excited about.
- 15 points: You can’t think of any significant accomplishment you’re proud of having made in the last week.
Your work/life balance is out of whack.
Work/life balance means different things to different people. For some, it means having time to pursue hobbies and build fulfilling personal relationships. For others, it’s about prioritizing mental and physical wellness and self-care. And many people simply care about having a fulfilling career that adds value to their lives.
But whether you’d rather fill your evenings and weekends advancing your career, socializing, or learning to play the violin, if you’re spending too much time on menial tasks, your work/life balance is going to feel off-kilter.
That’s a bigger problem than many realize. Why? Because work/life balance is crucial for not only personal happiness and health, but also for job performance. Happy employees are 12% more productive, and may also be more creative and better at solving problems.
- 5 points: You have an important hobby you haven’t spent any time on this month.
- 5 points: You have a gym membership you haven’t used in weeks.
- 10 points: You recently had to cancel plans with friends or family or skip an event because of unimportant, yet urgent tasks at work.
- 15 points: You’ve felt constantly pulled between the various commitments and interests in your life lately.
You're struggling to perform up to your own standards.
Whether you’re newly promoted or simply continually gaining recognition for your contributions at work, you’re progressing in your career for a reason. You’re talented and driven. But do you feel that every time you take a step forward professionally, your performance struggles to catch up?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, only 11% of managers feel like they’re prepared to handle their new responsibilities and challenges.
There’s always a learning curve when you take on additional responsibilities, but if you’re still handling old tasks or drowning in small projects, you don’t have time to master those new responsibilities. When you’re too busy trying to keep your head above water, you just can’t do your best work.
- 10 points: You didn’t meet one of your work goals this quarter.
- 15 points: You only met about half of your work goals this quarter.
- 20 points: You didn’t meet any of your work goals this quarter.
You don’t have time to be innovative or strategic.
As you move up in your career or grow your company, the way you think will become at least as important as the work you do. But if you’re stuck in the weeds, it’s hard to be innovative or strategic.
What are the proactive projects you’d like to tackle or changes you’d like to make to further stand out to leadership or help your company grow? Building a new sales strategy? Interacting with clients and driving innovation? Developing your status as a thought leader by participating in speaking engagements and conferences? These are the things you’re always saying you or your company should do, but you seem to constantly struggle to actually get around to. They may not be critical to your company’s day-to-day operations, but they are critical to real, proactive growth and, in many cases, a company’s survival.
You need to free up some of your time for deep thinking, brainstorming and exploring innovative and proactive solutions to your company’s challenges. That’s how you’ll truly add value and position yourself and your company for future growth.
- 5 points: You always feel rushed through projects that require deep strategic thinking and creativity.
- 5 points: You’ve had at least one great new idea you didn’t have the time to explore or implement in the last month.
- 10 points: You’ve said “we should…” more than 3 times in the last month and have then failed to follow up on the project you wanted to pursue.
- 15 points: You feel like you haven’t contributed any new strategic ideas to your company in the last quarter.
Now, tally up your points.
- 0-25 points: Breathe easy. You’re likely just in a bit of a rough patch at work and will get through it soon. Still, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for additional support during busy spells.
- 25-50 points: You’re clearly having a hard time fulfilling your true potential at work.Be proactive and explore your options for tapping resources either within or outside of your team to take some work off your plate before things get even more out of hand.
- 50+ points: You are definitely overworked and understaffed. Don’t hesitate. It’s time to find an immediate resource capable of taking the projects you shouldn’t be focused on off of your to-do list so you can focus on what matters most.
You don’t have to suffer in silence. You can hire college students and recent grads for projects as needed. They would love to help as Micro-Interns so you can keep moving forward. And unlike temps or overseas freelancers, these career launchers are highly motivated to work on these assignments not for the pay, but because they want to demonstrate their skills and prove themselves. As a result, the quality is outstanding!
It’s not a sign of weakness to get the support you need to succeed in your role. And it shouldn’t have to be a financial or logistical burden for your company to respond to your request for additional resources.
With Parker Dewey, it isn’t. Using our tool, you can hire college students and recent grads to take work off your plate on a project-by-project basis so you use your time and skills where they’re most valuable. Just like you would go to FedEx Office to get presentations made instead of spending an hour doing it yourself, you can leverage students and recent grads to take on the tasks that don’t make optimal use of your time and skills.
Why should you use Parker Dewey?
- It’s on-demand. You get help only when you need it and don’t waste yours or anyone else’s time.
- It’s low-cost and no-risk. You name the price for each project, and because each assignment stands alone, you won’t have the risks that come with a longer-term commitment to an intern or full-time hire.
- We connect you with career launchers with diverse skills in writing, research, graphic design and more so you can choose the perfect person for every project.
- It’s simple. Once you select a candidate, you just swipe your credit card and the project gets done. There’s no complicated process or paperwork involved to hire college students and recent grads for project work through Parker Dewey.
- You’ll build a pipeline of talent that you can tap into if your team ever needs to make a full-time hire in the future. And, since we’re not a staffing firm, there is no cost to do so.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re feeling overworked and understaffed, go ahead and post a project on Parker Dewey today.