wikiHow to Complete a High Volume Workload

Three Methods:Organizing Your WorkInteracting with Your CoworkersPreventing Burnout

Although it is good for workers to take on high volumes of work to show that they are diligent and reliable, this also means that you need to have a strategy in place to prevent burnout. Learning how to manage your day so that you get the most work done, and taking steps to reduce your daily stress, are both part of a plan to get a high volume workload done in the best way.

Method 1
Organizing Your Work

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    Decide which commitments are unnecessary. In your workplace, you may have many commitments besides the ones that pertain to your current high volume project. Take some time and evaluate these commitments. Do they pertain specifically to your job description? Is there a coworker who is more qualified to deal with them?[1]
    • Get permission to eliminate commitments that aren’t necessarily your job. Tell your boss that tasks outside of the specific workload are taking away from your productivity, and your boss may be willing to let you give them to someone else.
    • Return work to coworkers that you took as a favor if you have recently taken on a high volume workload. When you have a high volume workload, you have to stop taking other people’s responsibilities.
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    See how much time you spend on each project. Make a time log for recording how much time you spend on a typical portion of your workload. Once you have established how long you’re taking, you can take action to reduce that time. You can also use this time frame for building a more effective daily schedule.[2]
    • It might be helpful to build a spreadsheet of how long it takes for each project so that the data can be automatically generated into whatever type of visual helps you best—a line chart, a graph, etc.
    • Make rows for each project name, duration, and start and stop time. You can even make a row for interruptions and include those start and stop times.
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    Eliminate workspace distractions. Once you have charted your daily work experience, you will have a visual guide for where you can stop doing things that detract from your work flow. For example, you can turn off email notifications so that you aren’t chasing emails on demand, but rather set aside blocks of time for emailing.
    • You can do the same for phone calls by turning off the ringer and situating the phone where you can’t see missed alerts. Turn off alerts for social media and any other apps on both phone and computer.
    • Prevent coworkers from approaching your workspace by putting up a “do not disturb” sign at times when you need uninterrupted focus.
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    Schedule time for interruptions. No one can avoid being interrupted in a busy workplace. Instead of shutting your door and telling no one to talk to you all day, schedule times in the day that you are willing be to be interrupted. For example, if you’re a professor, advertising “office hours” means you are allowing students to interrupt you whenever they need help.[3]
    • You can use the activity log you created to show you what time of day you are most likely to be needed by coworkers, and plan your interruption window for that time.
    • You can announce to coworkers when you are available by emailing them or posting a sign in your workspace.
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    Organize your work area. Keeping your work area organized is not only good for eliminating things that distract you, but it’s good for setting the tone for an efficient day of work. If the documents you need are buried in a pile, you lose time searching. Keep everything you need in a specific place so that you can move quickly.[4]
    • Try keeping a small filing cabinet at your desk and creating folder tabs so that you can quickly organize paperwork when it hits your desk.
    • Get a big desk calendar and keep it on your desk so that you can quickly pencil in meetings and important deadlines.
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    Prioritize tasks by deadline. Take 30 minutes each morning and plan out your day, including making a list of the most important tasks in order of deadline. Adjust this list throughout the day so that you are continuously tackling the most important tasks first, even if new tasks arrive on your desk throughout the day.[5]
    • For example, if you work in customer service, you may have irate customers calling and emailing even though your boss has you working on a long-term document. You should pause on the document to address the concerns of the customers first.
    • Update your list so that you don’t get off track.

Method 2
Interacting with Your Coworkers

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    Tell your boss about your need to stay focused. Although your boss is the one who likely assigned you a heavy workload in the first place, keeping them informed about your time constraints will help them understand so that they don’t give you work that distracts you. Be polite and ask for their input on your workload so that you maintain good terms with them.[6]
    • Be courteous by explaining to your boss that you would like to work on their new assignment, but that your current deadline prevents it. Offer to work on it at another time, or refer them to a coworker you trust to do a good job.
    • Remember to stay flexible with your boss. If they ask you to work on a different project because the deadline is sooner than yours, be open to that distraction. Count it as part of your scheduled interruptions.
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    Alert coworkers to your need to focus. Don’t just put up a sign on your cubicle telling your coworkers to leave you alone. Send out an email or tell them face-to-face so that no animosity develops. Explain that you have a specific time frame each day for taking interruptions, and ask them to respect your daily schedule.
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    Recruit coworkers who can assist you. You may be able to outsource some of the work in your high volume workload by finding coworkers who are qualified. You may want to find a coworker who can do tasks that you find difficult, or find coworkers you can pass the easy work to.
    • Make sure whoever you recruit has a strong work ethic and has no trouble following the daily schedule you are implementing to stay on task.
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    Be courteous and tactful in all interactions at work. Remember that you want to maintain a pleasant work environment because disgruntled coworkers can add to your stress and distract you. To do this, be polite and kind as much as you can in your interactions.
    • When a coworker disregards your scheduled interruption time frame and barges in when you are especially focused, resist the impulse to be rude. Instead, say something like, “Yea, I understand what you’re saying, but I’m just focused on this project right now. Could I chat with you on my lunch break?”

Method 3
Preventing Burnout

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    Be aware that you are probably stressed. When you’re working on a high volume workload, you are likely under a lot of pressure. You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to conquer. Eventually the stress will make you want to quit, resulting in burnout. To prevent it, you need to reduce the stress.[7]
    • Symptoms of stress manifest in your mind, body, emotions, and behaviors. You can spot stress with symptoms like lack of memory, rapid heartbeat, change in eating habits, irritability, a sense of loneliness, and many more.[8]
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    Allow yourself to take breaks. To help prevent burnout, take mini breaks throughout the day. These can be technology breaks, such as stepping away from your desk so that no one can contact you for a brief moment. Breaks can also be switching to a different task for a short time. Breaks are good. Consider taking one every hour.
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    Plan rewards for yourself. Promising yourself you will take a break at a certain point in a project can help you maintain the motivation you need to finish the job. But you can think bigger than just daily rewards. Plan a vacation or weekend trip to give you something to look forward to.
    • You can also reward yourself by planning to do something creative at the end of the work day, or plan a weekly trip to the gym or out with friends.[9]
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    Stop thinking about work when you go home. Try to leave work behind when you go home for the day. Set boundaries with your boss and coworkers so that they do not contact you when you are at home, or get a separate work phone and turn it off once you get to your house.
    • Practice relaxation techniques on your way home so that by the time you get to the door, you are much more calm.
    • You can try breathing techniques to slow your heart beat, or place aromatherapy in your car if you drive.
    • If you ride public transportation or carpool, try reading or listening to a book or magazine to help you forget about your work day.
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    Take safety precautions. It can also be stressful to have to think about your physical safety and that of your coworkers while you are working on a high volume work load if your job requires physical labor. Set up safety precautions so that you can remove that stressor from your work environment.
    • Follow all the safety guidelines that your company recommends and poll your coworkers on a regular basis to make sure that they are also maintaining them.
    • If your company is a bit remiss in safety precautions, institute some yourself.


  • Stay hydrated if your job is physically demanding.
  • Talk to someone if you start to see symptoms of burnout in yourself, such as a trusted family member or friend, a therapist, even your boss. They might be willing to take away some of your tasks.


  • Burnout finds you easily when you let your guard down. After burnout, mental and physical health problems occur without warning. Therefore, it is important to take care of yourself before burnout can start.

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Categories: Workplace Conflicts Coping and Issues