It’s safe to assume former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink has experienced his fair share of work stress. His daily duties may be slightly unrelatable, but his work ethic is something we can all learn from. Who better to offer up some advice on how to handle feeling overwhelmed at work than a retired United States SEAL who spent 20 years in service.
Willink tells CNBC that when you start to fell the burden on your back, like you can’t get ahead and you feel like you’re losing the battle, go on the “hardcore offense.”
“I will sprint hard. I will take the things that I have to get done and I will just pile them up and I will work two or three 12, 16, 18 hour days to get caught up,” he says. “And when I get done with that, I’m all caught up and I’m actually a little bit ahead and life can get back to normal.”
Willink says it’s a lot better for him to suffer hard for three days than to suffer the continual burden that’s weighing on his back for months. “Don’t let that happen. If you get a little bit behind and you need to get caught up, hit the turbo button, go hard for three or four days, get yourself where you need to be.”
And if you’re just flat-out overworked, let your boss know. Says Willink, “If my boss is putting such a heavy work load on me that I can’t sustain it, I’m going to log what I’m doing, I’m going to report back to my boss, and I’m going to say, ‘Hey, boss. I want to let you know what I did over the last 96 hours. Here’s exactly what I did, here’s what I went through. The reason I logged this down is because I wanted to talk to you about getting me some support. The pace that I’m working is unsustainable.”
He says if you’re feeling overwhelmed, the first step is to prioritize and execute. “But if that is starting to fall apart as well, and you’re just getting completely overwhelmed, what you need to do is go into full assault mode. Buckle down, dig in and fight hard to get back on top of your world.”