How Do I Talk with my Boss about being Overloaded?

Confronting Overload: How to Discuss Workload with Your Boss

When we get overloaded at work, we’d like to say something, but many of us have multiple managers on multiple projects. They don’t really care about your other commitments as long as you get their stuff done.  This is when you need to talk to your direct/line manager, but what’s an effective strategy to get them to do something about it?

They should want to help, but it’s best if you can help them help you.  Alan Levy was recently talking with a mentee about this, and he realized a spin on a project management tool called the Work Breakdown Spreadsheet (WBS) could be very helpful.  It backs up your complaint with hard data.

Normally, a WBS determines how much man-power is required to complete a project.  By applying that concept to your weekly commitments, you can:

1. Prove you are legitimately overloaded, so they can’t just blow you off.

2. Show how overloaded you are week-to-week.  This determines how many hours they need to address, plus it confirms it’s not one-off to complete a project on schedule.

3. Which tasks and which projects contribute the most workload.

Having this data enables a much more meaningful conversation with your direct manager.  Now they can re-prioritize, reassign, and/or eliminate tasks to lighten your load without negatively affecting the managers’ objectives or the projects.

Talking to your Boss when you're Overloaded

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Talking to your Boss when You're Overloaded
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When we get overloaded at work, we'd like to say something, but many of us have multiple managers on multiple projects. They don't really care about your other commitments as long as you get their stuff done.  This is when you need to talk to your direct/line manager, but what's an effective strategy to get them to do something about it?

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