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businessman offers help to co-workerPawel Gaul/Getty Images/iStockphoto

If someone else is whining about being too busy, don't pull up a chair and start a pity party. Instead, offer to help out, says Harvard Business Review.

It can be irritating to hear someone else whine about being busy, especially if you're busy too. But instead of competing with your own sob story, offer to help.

Start by empathizing. Tell her that you understand, and paraphrase her complaint back to her. Then offer to help in a specific way: Tell her you'll grab her lunch or look over her work. Chances are she'll take you up on the offer and feel appreciative.

This act of generosity will make you feel better and more productive. You'll likely see that if you have time to help someone else, you have enough bandwidth to do your own work.

This management tip was adapted from the book, " Guide to Managing Stress."