What do you do when you're overworked? My anxiety is up the roof

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What do you do when you work on multiple things and have people calling you asking you to make changes and send stuff to them? How to calm your anxiety when you have multiple deadlines within the next few hours?

Comments (7)

 
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  • Associate 3 in IB - Ind
Sep 15, 2020 - 10:33pm

Learn to say no (or a heartfelt "I don't have any bandwidth") When you are full up, ask what the priorities are and then drop the lower priority tasks off your schedule. Make sure people know you are doing this. In fact, when they ask, list what you have currently on your plate and ask specifically what they want you to drop to do the work. Forget about impressing your staffers and MDs. Constantly messing up work is way worse than pushing back on requests for more work. 

 
  • Managing Director in PE - LBOs
Sep 15, 2020 - 10:38pm

Chill, breathe, we’ve all been there. Maybe smoke weed/CBD gummies. Health > Work. You should speak up to your staffer. Last summer I made the staffer take a buddy of mine off a few pitches because he was going to work himself to death. Remember why you are working, to enjoy your life after. Not to kill yourself in the process.

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Sep 16, 2020 - 12:03am

First of all to answer your questions upfront, I usually either take a shower or take a walk around the block where my apartment is. I also call my associate colleagues (and did so as well as an analyst in banking) to bitch or joke about whatever it is is stressing me out. I'm a heavy drinker / enjoy the extracurrics a lot but I will say that I'm proud to have never turned to either of those during times of stress or anxiety as I know for me at least, that would drive me down a hole I know would take some time coming back from. 

 

Try the above. Substitute your colleagues with close friends or family per the above and see how much your mood improves. Feel free to talk about literally anything but work - that always helps. The above comments help with being more preventative but I'm trying to help tackle an "episode" you may have with regards to feeling anxious/doubtful/stressed

 
Sep 16, 2020 - 9:43am

Several things that I’ve found that help outside the good advice above:

  • at least 7 hours of sleep every night, aim to go to bed and wake up the same time everyday (including weekends if possible).
  • avoid/limit your caffeine, particularly after 1:30 pm.
  • reduce your drinking (if you do) mid-week or within 2-3 hours before you go to sleep.
  • 20 mins of daily exercise - doesn’t matter what you do, get your body moving and mind off of work.
  • Cold showers are an unconventional method that work really well (not sure why). At the end of your shower, set a 30 second timer and flip it to full cold - yes it will be unbearable at first and you’ll probably scream but try to eventually build up to 2 minutes and you’ll be shocked how much you enjoy them.

I also would highly recommend 15 mins of mindful meditation per day. This will be a long term development/benefit so do not expect to see results extremely quickly but trust the process and if you stick to it you’ll eventually be blown away by how helpful it can be in stressful situations. I do this vinyasa style where you focus on your breath and when you catch yourself “in your thoughts” (focused on anything besides breath) then gently redirect your focus back to your breath. Eventually you’ll essentially train your brain to recognize that you aren’t your thoughts and you’ll get added space/separation from them simply by focusing back on your breath. Your brain naturally produces thoughts that are good, bad, panicked, instinctual, etc. for all types of reasons (that’s your brain’s job), it is you who is choosing to put energy into them. You need to separate yourself from what is centuries old hardware reacting to very different modern day society and problems.

Another important step is to focus on what in particular triggers more stress for you and to get specific. Is it getting constantly pinged on emails? Is it calls at a certain hour? Really dial in and figure out ways to mitigate and downplay these. For example I found that having email notifications on my phone combined with a full inbox really stress me out so I switched notifications off, starting checking my inbox only on specific times during the day and now take time in the late evenings/weekends to clear it out.

A good technique if things are really bad is to go completely big picture. Think through really what the worse is that could happen - say you have to ask for help and have an honest conversation that you’ve got too much on your plate but your boss still fires you (highly unlikely chance) should you even want to work there in the first place? If your daily life is this stressful, could it even be happier/more fulfilling if you didn’t have this job? The book How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie is great for covering this on a high level so recommend you give that a read.

The last suggestion would be to consider seeing a therapist. Mental health is still highly underrated in society and everyone could use a thoughtful ear/someone neutral to work through some of your thoughts. I’ve got a lot of friends who see one (been researching the best methods and planning on doing it myself soon) and rave about the results. 

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 16, 2020 - 11:37am
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