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10 Signs You’re Working Too Much
October 12th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler  Posted in Career Advice

istock_000012525712xsmallMore than people in most other countries, as Americans, we identify ourselves by our jobs - “I’m a doctor,” “a plumber,” “a librarian,” “a cashier at Kroger.” What we do for a living defines us - both to others and internally - and sometimes our jobs can come to take over our lives in an unhealthy way.

So how do you know if you’re working too much? Read on.

Your friends stop inviting you to things. No one should make you feel bad for missing things once in a while - friends have to understand that life gets in the way sometimes. But when you’ve done it so much and for such a long time that your friends no longer call or email, you might need to rethink your work-life balance a bit.

You grab for your smartphone the second you wake up. Technically, this could also be an internet or technology addiction, but if you’re checking work emails in the shower, it’s a problem.

You can’t focus. Multitasking is often considered a good thing, but there comes a point when everyone reaches diminishing returns. If you have so much going on that you can’t seem to focus on anything, chances are that you are working too much and need to engage in that most important workplace skill: delegating.

You toss and turn at night. If your brain is so focused on work that you’re counting emails instead of sheep when you go to bed, something is going to give. Try keeping work and home life separate and getting into a relaxing routine before bed.

You put off work. Wait, huh? How does putting off work mean you’re working too much? Because often procrastination is our subconscious way of telling ourselves that we need a little rest and relaxation.

You hate everyone. If you are constantly working, you might start to wonder why people are becoming more and more annoying. Their jokes aren’t funny, they never shut up, and they just make everything harder. This might be a case of “it’s not them, it’s you.” Take a mental health day and come back refreshed.

You just can’t shake that cough. Generally speaking, our bodies do a great job of regulating our health and quickly getting us back into shape. This is not the case, however, if you overwork yourself to the point that your body’s immune system is doing all it can just to keep you upright.

You’ve lost count of how many cups of coffee you drink. Just like multitasking, coffee and other caffeinated beverages have diminishing returns. If you’ve gotten to the point that you’re drinking so much coffee that you can’t sleep and get headaches, you need to cut back - even if it means taking a bit longer to finish your work.

You answer your phone like you’re at work. “Blockbuster Video, this is Michael speaking. How can I help you?” If you suddenly find yourself picking up your personal cellphone and reciting your work spiel, it may be time to step away for a bit.

You just don’t know where to start. You need to answer your emails. But you really need to finish that report. But you have to complete the travel arrangements. When we overwork ourselves, mundane tasks can start to overwhelm us, with each one seeming more important than the last. Take a breath and ask for help.
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Tags: advice, in-the-workplace, performance, add-new-tag
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