31/08/2016 6:08 AM AEST | Updated 31/08/2016 6:09 AM AEST

How To Keep Your Sanity During Super Busy Slogs

Turn off your phone and shut down your email prompts.

Bernd Opitz
I'll just pop myself another reminder over here...

These days, most of us at least try to keep up some semblance of work/life balance. Sure, at times it might feel like we're busier than ever, but generally there's an understanding that all work and no play makes Jack a very likely candidate for a complete nervous breakdown.

In saying that, sometimes work gets busier than usual and there's nothing you can do about it. Maybe it's a tight deadline you have to meet, maybe you're short-staffed because a key member of your team is on leave, or maybe it's just a hectic time of year.

Whatever the reason, it's important not to let the stress of a particularly busy period get you down. As such, The Huffington Post spoke to Deb Hann, founder of Hann's On Enterprises, for her tips and tricks on staying sane no matter how crazy things get.


"For me, this really comes down to a neat little saying that I always keep at the front of my mind," Hann told HuffPost Australia. "And that is 'give this time purpose'. It all comes back to that for me.

"Ask yourself: why do you even do what you do?

"Look at [Rafael] Nadal and [Roger] Federer, who play those five set marathons. Sure, they might love tennis but I don't think they love those matches. It's about remembering why you're there in the first place."

In terms of getting through all the work you no doubt have piling up on your desk, Hann says there are some key things you can do to help you.

"First of all, you want to shut down distractions," she said. "This can be really helpful when it comes to bringing structure to your day. Turn off your phone, shut down your email prompts, and focus on the tasks that absolutely need to be done.

"Sometimes it can also help to actually ask for silence, just letting people know not to disrupt you for a certain period of time. This will save you from those 'hey, have you got five minutes?' conversations until you actually have the time to have them."

Getty Images/Tetra images RF
Tell your co-workers not to disrupt you. This will save you from having to be pretend you're interested in what Phil did over the weekend.

Secondly, Hann advises being clear about your goals and how you hope to achieve them.

"Set personal and productivity goals that have tangible expectations," she said. "I'd also recommend setting your intentions with a prioritised to-do list.

"This will give you a sense of encouragement to continue what we're doing, as each milestone, no matter how small, gives you something to celebrate.

"If you are rushed off your feet and feel like you're spinning your wheels, but then you get to tick off something or put a line through something, you have that sense of 'yes! I haven't wasted my day!'

"Having tangible expectations leads to having that sense of satisfaction."

Thomas Barwick
Don't be afraid to put your hand up.

Thirdly, if you're really drowning under all your work, don't be afraid to ask for help.

"There is a big difference between leadership and martyrdom," Hann said. "Regardless of whether you're leading a team or yourself -- if you're not moving forward, you're not winning.

"Can you delegate? Are you prepared to ask for assistance? If you're not, you may be getting into martyrdom territory. I know so many people who wear the badge of 'over-worked' like a badge of honour, but really... what do you get from being overloaded? How does it fare being that person on the planet?

" If you are genuinely overloaded then draw a line in the sand, say, 'hang on a sec, what am I not prepared to do anymore? And am I prepared to ask for help?'"

If you're workload is consistently getting you down, it might be time to have a conversation with management.

Finally, it's worth remembering that it's one thing to have a 'busy stretch' at work, and it's another to be genuinely overloaded with an impossible amount of tasks.

"One of my pet hate words is 'busy'," Hann said. "We can all be busy. Are we busy or are we productive? Are we spinning wheels or are we achieving? There is an important distinction there.

That said, there is such a thing as taking on too much, and this again comes back to checking your expectations and what you are expecting to achieve in a certain time frame.

"If you start to recognise you are consistently falling short and the gap between the goal and your expectations is becoming a real distance... then you need to check in and recognise that gap is consistent and needs addressing.

"This is the time to have that conversation with management or other appropriate people. Do we need to up-skill? Are we lacking resources? It's what we're setting out to achieve unrealistic? It's time to regroup."