20 Symptoms of Overwhelmed Professional Syndrome


Feeling overwhelmed regularly? You may be suffering from OPS – Overwhelmed Professional Syndrome. But there’s hope! (See what I did there?)

First, consider the following symptoms and answer “yes” or “no” to each:  

  1. I often run late, arriving a few minutes after the time I planned to be at work or need to be at a meeting.
  2. I have more than 20 emails sitting in my in-box.
  3. People aren’t sure if they ever will get a response to the email they sent me, or the voce mail they left.
  4. I’ve let my voice mail box get to the point where the recording says, “Users mailbox is full.”
  5. I can only see about 3 square inches of my desk surface.
  6. I have a pile of papers in my in-box that haven’t been looked at in over a month.
  7. I tend to forget small tasks I meant to do.
  8. I don’t have a centralized place to keep reminders and lists.
  9. My desk is covered with sticky notes.
  10. I have very little margin for reflection or professional development.
  11. I tend to multi-task, a lot.
  12. I underestimate the amount of time a task is going to take.
  13. My “soul pace” is always set on “fast.”
  14. I have, or make, little time for fun with friends.
  15. My calendar is so tight that if one appointment takes longer than I planned, the whole day becomes a mess.
  16. I’m afraid I’ve developed a reputation for being scattered and unreliable.
  17. I find it hard to sit still.
  18. Caffeinated coffee is one of my four major food groups.
  19. I sleep less than 7 hours per night.
  20. I find myself to be irritable or moody a lot of the time.

As you read through those symptoms, did you answer “yes” to any of them? I can.

So what do we do about it?

Moving from overwhelmed professional to one that excels in each of our life roles is not an overnight process. In fact, we may gain ground in one area and fall back in another. At the risk of using a cliche word, it’s a journey.

I’m an overwhelmed professional from time to time. That’s why I write and work to help other overwhelmed professionals. Most of us have a good heart, solid intentions, and innate professional skill. We just need to understand that we can’t be perfect nor do it all, and rein in our drive from time to time. So I hope you’ll stick with me and read every Monday, interact on various social media channels, and purchase resources that will help!

Today I’m introducing Hope, another overwhelmed professional. She and her buddies–Henry (her dog) and RC-various “random colleagues” – will appear from time to time in the blog, sharing in our collective journey to excel despite being sometimes overwhelmed.

Hope may or may not be somewhat based on someone you know. I’ll never tell.

Here’s to a year of excelling!

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