With the proliferation of the internet and smartphones, it seems that most of us are in an “always on” mindset. With the ability to check, and reply, to work messages almost instantaneously, it may be difficult to draw a line and step back from work. This is one of the telltale signs you’re working too much and it can have detrimental effects on your health.
Oftentimes, as business professionals, we may feel the need to complete the work no matter the cost. This line of thinking is dangerous and can in-fact hurt your chances of getting promoted and keeping up your productivity.
Understanding how to balance your work and your personal life is infinitely more beneficial for not only yourself, but also for the company where you work. Keeping yourself healthy, well rested, and engaged with family and friends is necessary.
If you feel overwhelmed at work and find yourself never catching up, feel free to communicate your concerns to your manager. You should do so in a constructive manner and show them what tasks, projects, and issues you are working on and where you can use some assistance. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re working too much, we’ve compiled a list of signs you’re working too much below.
You’re Opting To Take Lunch At Your Desk
Choosing to eat your lunch at your desk because you want to catch-up on some work or peruse the internet during your downtime is perfectly acceptable. However, if you’re constantly hunched over your desk during lunch, then this may be a sign that you’re overworked and are working too much.
Studies have shown that taking lunch breaks allows your mind and body to rest and refocus. This time away from your desk can help you to be more productive for the remainder of the day. In addition, taking a lunch break away from your desk allows you to clear your mind and come back to any issues or tasks with a fresh take.
You (Honestly) Can’t Remember The Last Time You Took A Vacation
One of the telltale signs that you’re overworked and are working too much is that you honestly can’t remember the last time you took a vacation. Even worse, you can’t remember the last time you took a vacation and didn’t look at your work emails, messages, or notifications.
While a vacation doesn’t necessarily have to be abroad or to a foreign country, it is helpful and healthy to take personal days to relax and focus on you. Most companies offer some sort of paid-time-off (PTO) dates and you should use them while you can.
Going on a vacation will also help you to experience new surroundings and cultures. You’ll feel refreshed after a much-needed vacation and will be recharged and ready to tackle your work once you return.
You’re Skipping Out On Life Events
An easy way to assess whether or not you’re working too much is to see if you’re missing out on life events. These don’t necessarily need to be major life events, but if you’re missing out on birthday parties, lunch with friends, and date nights, then you may need to dial back on your work. Work should not overtake your personal life and you should make time to keep-up with family and friends.
You Feel Lethargic
Overworking can have a direct, negative impact on your health. A sign you’re working too much is that you feel tired, lethargic, and lacking in energy. By placing your full focus and energy into work, you don’t allow yourself and your body the time it needs to recoup and reenergize.
Your Work Output Is Suffering
Although it may seem counterintuitive, working too much can actually lead to lower work output. When you work too much, you may begin to submit sloppy or incomplete work, simply to complete the task. This is inefficient and a waste of resources and your time. These mistakes could be costly down-the-line and will likely need to be redone.
Rather than submit incomplete and incorrect work, take the time to relax and reassess the task in the morning. A good night’s sleep will help you feel energized and get you back to tip-top shape.
You Become Cranky
Too much work can make you feel anxious, cranky, and have a generally negative attitude. You’ll grow resentful of the company and will put-off a negative attitude to those around you. This attitude can severely impact your professional and personal connections and can lead to termination from the job.
You Feel Isolated
By working too much, you isolate yourself from you coworkers, colleagues, family, and friends. Whereas others may be out, socializing and building relationships, you’ll find yourself alone and without company.
Isolating yourself will have a domino effect, where you may continue to pull away from others as you begin to feel isolated. This will compound and could have negative effects on your mental health.
You’re Missing Deadlines
If you’re overworked and stretched too thin, you’re going to begin to miss deadlines and service level agreements (SLA’s). Missing these deadlines will reflect poorly on you and your performance. Rather than undertaking more than you can, limit yourself to what you know you’re able to accomplish and do it well.
The more tasks, projects, and issues you try to take on, the less mental capacity you leave yourself to handle them. Rather than accomplishing those tasks mediocrely, focus on a few tasks and complete them amazingly.
You’re Skipping On Personal Items
If you’re skipping out on doctor’s visits or going to the gym for months on end, then you are overworking yourself. You need to find a balance between work and personal life. Skipping out on personal items and errands can have physical consequences in the future.
Work Is Always On Your Mind
There needs to be a healthy balance between work and personal. If you’re constantly thinking about work, what you need to do, and how you’re going to do it, then you’re working too much. Learn how to pull back and away from work when you’re not in the office. Take time to focus on your family and friends. Relax and watch a television show and allow yourself to unwind.
Work takes up a majority of our waking hours. Though there is nothing wrong with ambition and working hard, you don’t want to overwork yourself and negatively impact your future self and your relationships. Take the time you need before and after work to focus on yourself, your family, and your friends and always try to maintain a health work-life balance.