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Hey there it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. Now, if you feel overwhelmed at work but don’t know how to ask for or get the help that you need, this one is for you.
Today’s question comes from Candace who writes, “Hi Marie, thanks for your beautiful wisdom, your words and spirit inspire me so much.” Thank you. “I’m fortunate to say that I truly love my job so much, however, I’m stretched so thin that I’m in a constant state of stress. I have no help, seriously, zero help. My position has grown and grown and I love that, but I’m just one person, not 10. These days I feel like my skills are not being fully utilized because I can’t possibly make an impact in so many different areas at once. Is it time for a change, even though it would break my heart to leave this place? Thanks so much, Candace.”
Great question, Candace. Feeling overstretched is really a modern workplace epidemic. In fact, a recent study by the Families and Workplace Institute showed that more than half of US employees feel overworked and overwhelmed. But to answer your question my dear, no, you do not have to quit your job, this job that you love, and you don’t have to accept this constant state of being stressed the freak out. ‘Cause you know what? This type of stress that you’re describing right now, it is toxic for your health, your happiness, and your coworkers. Now the good news here is that there is something you can do to make a change. Remember my life mantra, “everything is figureoutable,” girl, including this. So let’s get started.
Step number one, I want you to list your initial responsibilities. So Candace, think back to when you first started this job, and write down the specific role and the responsibilities that you were hired for. If it helps, look back at your job description or any emails that you have from when you first got hired. The goal here is to list exactly what you were brought on to do. Here’s an example. So let’s say your initial job description was Assistant Cucumber Chopper and your initial responsibilities were retrieving cucumbers from the fridge, peeling cucumbers, chopping cucumbers, and wiping up the cucumber juice.
Then you’re ready for step number two, list how much more you’re doing these days. So now what I want you to do is add to that this, perhaps with, I don’t know a different colored pen or if you’re in Google Docs, use a different colored font. I want you to list all of the additional tasks that you now do. So the goal here is to clearly identify the full landscape of what you’re responsible for now, and show how much more you’re doing compared to what you were initially hired to do. In our cucumber chopper example, your new tasks might look like this: remove cucumber seeds, update salad menus, make ranch dressing, manage social media including salad Insta-stories, name new salad combos, create profit and loss statements for salad sales, source and procure larger cucumbers, entertain cucumber farmers.
Step number three is circle exactly what you’d like to focus more on and why. So now I want you to take a look at everything on your plate and ask yourself which projects or roles or responsibilities really fire you up. Which ones bring you the most energy, and most important, bring the most value to your team and your company? Circle the areas you’d like to focus on more, and then write down why that additional investment would benefit the company. I gotta say this part is so big, and it’s what everyone forgets. So what specific outcomes or results could you create if you had the time and space? Let’s say one of the things you really want to focus on is those cucumber farmers. Write down why that’s important. For example, will wining and dining those cucumber farmers decrease costs by 20%? How much money could you save your company if you devoted three more hours a week to this area? Don’t forget to mention ideas that you have for projects or initiatives you’d love to get to, but you can’t because you’re spread too thin.
Step number four is propose potential solutions. So as a boss myself Candace, I gotta say, Team Forleo never brings a problem to my attention without also proposing solutions. And get this, they’re always well thought out and they’re written down, it’s pretty much standard practice in our company. So here’s what I want you to do, I want you to take a few minutes and brainstorm potential solutions to present to your boss. One solution might be that certain parts of your job are handed off to another team member. Or, maybe some of the tasks don’t even need to be done anymore. Or, you might need to make a case for why the company needs to hire more help.
And finally, step number five is set up a meeting with your boss. So now that you’ve done all this homework Candace, you’ll want to clean up your list and really get your ideas into a shareable, presentable form, because bosses, we aren’t mind readers, right? You need to show us exactly where your job started, how it’s grown, the changes you’re proposing to make, and why they matter. So let’s assume that your boss is a busy person and you don’t just call or walk into her office, right? You email her to set up a time to talk, and if you need a little sample script to get you started, try something like this: “Hey Cherise. As you know, I love my job and the work that we do here. As my role has grown, it’s become more challenging to focus my energies on the most important projects. Can we walk through my priorities together to make sure I’m focused on the right things and doing the work that’s the highest value to the company? It should take 20 minutes or less. Looking forward to it.”
Now of course you should tweak this language to fit your style and your situation, but the point is to keep it short and upbeat. And I promise if you follow these steps and really do your homework, you’re going to give yourself the best chance of making a change that both you and your boss are going to be happy with. Remember, in either work or life, before you point out a glitch, brainstorm a fix. And that was my A to your Q, Candace, I really do hope it helps. Now I want to hear from you. Can you relate to Candace’s struggle of being stretched way too thin? I know I can. Whether you work with a team or you work for yourself, what’s the most important step that you can take right now to make a change? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Now as always, the best, richest conversations happen over at the wonderful land of marieforleo.com, so go there and leave a comment now. Once you’re there, be sure to subscribe to our email list and become an MF Insider. You’ll get instant access to a powerful training I created called How to Get Anything You Want. You’ll also get some exclusive content, special giveaways, and some personal updates from me that, frankly, I don’t share anywhere else. Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams, because the world needs that very special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll catch you next time on MarieTV.
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If I didn’t do this, I would write jingles.
I sing it about the things every day.
I was going so good. Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.