In a society that prizes hard work, it can be hard to tell when we’re working too hard. Remember—your work life shouldn’t eclipse your personal life. If you think you’re suffering from work overload, here’s how to handle it.
See the signs
Has your sleep schedule taken a turn for the worse? What about your diet—have you lost or gained weight? These can be signs that you’re stressed and need to make a change. It can sometimes be hard to see our situation objectively, so ask a trusted friend for her insights. Has she noticed a change in your behavior?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
The work place can be competitive, which means you want to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to promotions and sponsorship. That doesn’t mean you should try to impress your boss by taking on so many additional tasks that your day-to-day job suffers.
Watch out for flattery
Even if your coworker tells you that you’re the best at doing a particular assignment, remember that you have your own responsibilities—after all, being a team player doesn’t mean you do everyone else’s work. If you think you’re being taken advantage of by a peer, keep an eye on HIS workload. If you see him checking Facebook too often, he may not be as busy as he said.
Write out a plan
When you have too many obligations, it can be easy to lose track of little things. Don’t get stuck wondering, “Did I send that email?” Update your work calendar with time sensitive tasks and keep a to-do list on your desk.
Take a break
It may seem counterintuitive to stop working, but a mental break will help in the long run. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, don’t let your emotions boil over. Take a ten minute break and listen to music, read an interesting article (NOT related to work), or meditate. It’ll help.
Talk to your boss
If your workload has grown insurmountable, do something about it. Your boss won’t realize there’s a problem if you don’t say something. Speak to her before your work begins to suffer, and explain that in order to maintain quality, you need to discuss priorities.
Check your number one priority
Figure out what your main concerns are. While work is important, your number one priority should be your health, both physical and mental. If you struggle with putting yourself first, don’t be afraid to seek an outside opinion. Make an appointment with a professional if you think you might be suffering from workaholism (which is an addiction).
You dont’t show up
Friends and loved ones are frustrated because you consistently cancel plans so you can continue working.
You work, work, work
“Me-time” is nonexistent. You rarely take the time to do something nice that’s just for you, like reading a good book or taking a soothing bath.
It gives you a high
You feel an exaggerated sense of accomplishment while working.