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Ask L2: When the workload is too much

"Like, there is so much work on my plate that I barely can break away to pee when I have to much less take a break."

Disclaimer: Identities are kept confidential. The advice given here should be taken at your own risk. If you are having true mental or physical issues, please seek professional assistance.

I love your post about taking breaks and just getting your work done when you can but not necessarily on a strict 9-5. But I am also genuinely struggling with something that I feel like your advice on would be monumental. What do you do when the work is TOO MUCH.

Like, there is so much work on my plate (not including the work that's not, like, "work" ya, just my job) that I barely can break away to pee when I have to much less take a break. Today I ate a piece of cheese for lunch. I have been raising my hand about it for a long time (10 months? 11? a year?) and the volume just doesn't quit. I just took on a new client last week that's already running me ragged. HOW do I even deal with this? I'm drowning all. the. time. Your wisdom is like a beacon...any to offer on this?


First, my wisdom is not a beacon. It is the exhausted ranting of a lady who is just fed up. Take that how you will.

More than that, there’s a reason that it’s too much. You are one person and you cannot do the work of multiple people. It’s not possible. I say that as the person who tried for many, many years and never actually got it done. If it feels like it’s too much, it’s because IT’S TOO MUCH.

We have created this environment that makes women feel that they’re the problem or they’re not enough when we are given tasks that cannot be completed.

Candidly, eff that.

You know how much you can do, so it’s time to start setting some boundaries and letting your leadership know what you can actually do. If they add more, you can say that you have too much, or you can give them a deliverable date of when you can realistically get that done based on what you have on your plate. You can sit them down and demonstrate to them the amount of hours the work you have takes versus the amount that you are contracted for.

You should put together some information on the what, why, how and how long of what you’re working on, and demonstrate to them that they either need to extend timelines or hire more people.

It is not your responsibility to keep the company afloat on your own, and “No.” is a complete sentence.

If it’s too much, it’s too much. I suspect you already knew the answer, though.




Mary Cochrane
Mary Cochrane
Jul 26, 2023

Putting together the “biz case” to demonstrate the need for boundaries is a daunting task. It’s done off the side of our desk. Establish a dedicated day to work on this and if anyone asks you are in planning session (even if it’s with yourself). A toxic culture or boss will do everything in their power to make it a “you” problem. Once you complete the assessment to demonstrate the unrealistic expectations of their asks, use those findings in every conversation.


Susan Guthrie
Susan Guthrie
Dec 28, 2022

As someone who leaned the hard way, set your boundaries, take your breaks, or ultimately your body will force you to do so and that’s not fun at all.

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