All of us have felt overwhelmed at some point in our lives. The stress of home life, work-life, social life, and anything in between can overwhelm you if not managed well. With this in mind, assess your current situation to establish if you are overworked.
Overworking without enough rest can backfire. High achievers are usually passionate about what they do. They may take exceedingly huge workloads, work for long hours, and put enormous pressure on themselves to be outstanding.
Pushing yourself to reach your fullest potential is commendable. However, you don’t have to do this at the expense of your health. Overworked could make you vulnerable. You will feel that your life is just passing by you, and you could not keep up.
Even if your job comes with individual responsibilities you have to excel at, being overworked is not something you have to live with. Unfortunately, some people rarely see it coming, and they only realize it when it is already too late.
Here are some of the common physical signs of overworking that you should be aware of. Take note of the signs, and your body is already giving you signals that you should not neglect. It is good to pay attention to your body once in a while before it could get worst.
12 Signs You Are Overworked
The best way to overcome overworking is to recognize the signs early enough to implement self-care strategies. Here are ten signs that you are overworked and what to do to fix the situation.
1. Difficulty Focusing and Getting More Forgetful
Mild forgetfulness and lack of focus are some of the early signs of overworking. Later on, the problem may get worse to the point where you fail to get things done, and everything starts to pile up. Losing focus will only slow down your productivity and failing to meet deadlines.
Moreover, you get easily distracted and tend to get it all done once, which is why multitasking is never a good idea in the first place. You are under too much pressure, and with this, you are losing focus on the things which are far more important.
Restlessness and high-hung may make you lose focus. To remedy the situation, try these self-help strategies:
- Create a to-do list, and check off completed activities as you go.
- Take short breaks spread throughout the day to help you refuel.
- A simple way to calm down the mind is to try relaxing activities such as listening to music or coloring a book.
2. Having Difficulty Sleeping or Sleeping Too Much
When you are overworked, you may experience changes in your sleep pattern. On one end, you may remain restless throughout the night despite being tired.
You may have trouble staying or falling asleep for a night or two in a week in the early stages. If you fail to address the problem, insomnia may grow into a persistent night ordeal.
On the other hand, you may experience excessive sleeping. If you have had those days where you ask yourself, “why do I sleep so much?” it is probably because you are overworked.
A healthy sleep pattern is necessary for good mental health. If you fail to act, the condition will begin to take a toll on you.
To fix the situation, try the following strategies:
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine, which includes going to bed and waking up at specific times. Use an alarm to wake you up by the set time. In the beginning, the process may be a trial and error, so be patient until you find what works best.
- To calm the mind, practice a few relaxation exercises before sleeping. These may include yoga, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation, among others.
- Avoid taking alcohol or soothing drinks before bed. Certain beverages such as chamomile tea and alcohol can influence your sleep pattern, which may cause sleeplessness.
- If any of the above strategies do not restore your usual pattern, consult a doctor.
The constant and excessive feeling of tiredness can be physical, mental, or a combination of both. Being tired all the time can negatively impact your work performance, family, and social life.
Constant headaches, dizziness, slowed reflexes, responses, appetite loss, low motivation, and low immune system also characterize it.
Fatigue has significant effects on your cognitive performance, leading to short-term memory loss and issues, and also one has difficulty concentrating and also experience slow productivity.
In addition to that, an individual experiencing fatigue could suffer many health issues such as depression, cardiovascular ailments, obesity, and the likes.
In addition to that, there is 62% of night-shift workers complain about sleep deprivation. If you notice fatigue or general weakness, you are probably overworking the body. When you are overworked, your mind is on overdrive, which can feel exhausting.
This situation is likely to leave you feeling fatigued. To recover from this situation:
- Eat healthy meals to provide the required energy.
- Physical exercises may help to tire you so that you sleep better. They are also useful for mental health.
- Reduce stress by practicing mindful breathing.
4. Feeling Less Motivated
No matter how much you love your job, the joy starts to fade if nothing is getting ahead. When overworked, you may feel less motivated to complete tasks. One hour of you sitting at your desk can seem like forever.
When you feel demotivated to go to work, you tend to disengage yourself from employee gatherings, and you prefer not going to work or come in late. Moreover, you lack the energy to take the initiative, and you are always stressed and bored.
In such a situation, you are most likely to procrastinate. Besides this, you may also start getting late in delivering your work. You are having a hard time getting started. Take note this is one of the many motivation-drainer.
If you are continually missing deadlines and the pressure seems never to let up, you might be overworking.
To restore motivation, try these tips:
- Break down large tasks into several mini-tasks.
- Create a plan of action to help you work effectively.
- Reward yourself after finishing a big project or even a small one.
- Ask for feedback from your superior.
5. Feeling Extremely Stressed
Stress and anxiety are signs of being overwhelmed. There are a lot of factors that contribute to your stress and anxiety. It starts with interpersonal conflicts that you have with your colleagues. Another stressor is being disorganized and your tendency to multi-task.
Handling a heavy workload could also lead to you feeling overstressed and feeling of little control over your job. It depletes your energy and decreases your efficiency at work.
Failing to deliver quality work can be damaging to your overall career. It directly affects your work performance evaluations, promotion, and you might not even get merit pay.
The unhappiness can trickle down to your private life, even putting you at odds with family and friends. Remember, no work is worth sacrificing personal relationships.
The following tips may help to restore things:
- Limit intake of alcohol and caffeine.
- Take a break to rewind or rest.
- Stay away from conflicts.
- Avoid being a perfectionist.
- Request your manager to give you additional time to complete work, especially the tasks that stress you.
- Establish a workable work-life balance. Include your passion and other fun activities.
6. Difficulty In Balancing Work & Social Life
Sometimes it comes to a point where our only focus is our career, and we often forgot that we also have a social life to live. It is never wrong to pursue our career goals and be successful.
However, we also need to learn how to balance the scale. Living a balanced life is worth living. It is full of happiness and productivity. On the contrary, an unbalanced lifestyle is full of stress, anxiety, and fatigue which could negatively impact one’s health.
If you have difficulty balancing your work and social life, consider the tips below to live to the fullest.
- Unplug once in a while.
- Make time for yourself.
- Learn to set boundaries.
- Leave work at the office.
7. You Have Lost Your Passion
You were supposed to love and enjoy the job that you have. But due to the heavy workloads, you are handling and the immense responsibilities your job entails, you are now losing the passion you had before.
Over the constant stress and pressure from your job, you are now feeling disappointment and burnout. You keep on thinking that this is not the job that you want. It is draining you physically, emotionally, and even professionally.
Your productivity also decreases because you are no longer excited to finish a task. And also, you just don’t care about the quality of your outputs, so long as you are done with them. You are irritable at work and to your colleagues, and you are feeling tired throughout the day.
If you feel this way for quite a while now, you might have lost your passion for your job.
Here are some tips to help you reignite that passion:
- Take some time off.
- Focus on your strengths.
- Celebrate small wins.
- Listen to a motivational podcast.
- Remember why you applied for this job.
8. Difficulty Relaxing
When you are under constant pressure, your body finds it difficult to relax. It happens mostly if your job is demanding and keeps you like a prisoner, which takes total control over you and your life.
Relaxing will never be included in your schedule when you have too much on your plate. You do not have enough time for yourself, and the idea of always needing to be “on” holds you back glued to your pc or laptop.
Difficulty relaxing also happens when your job requires long working hours with short breaks or even working lunches.
Heavy workloads disrupt your work-life balance. It is now the time to reconsider your priorities and make time for relaxation.
Below are some tips to help you relax under stress and pressure.
- Practice deep breathing exercises.
- Surround yourself with positivity
- Listen to soothing music.
- Learn the art of effective scheduling.
- Learn to say no.
9. Gets Easily Irritated
We all have some days where we experience being grumpy for no apparent reason, especially when we feel frustrated, stressed, and overworked.
Moreover, an overworked employee tends to be more irritable and may cause conflicts with the team. You easily snap back at someone who was just only asking for clarification regarding a task, or you shouted at your colleague for forgetting to inform you about the meeting.
You get easily irritated and annoyed by the people around you. Sometimes, the source of our irritability is obvious, and most often than not, we tend to deny that we are grumpy. We look for something or someone that we can blame on why we are acting up.
Being irritable in the workplace can lead to miscommunication among the team, low productivity, missed deadlines, and a hard time focusing and prioritizing essential tasks.
The following tips might help you manage your irritability:
- Cut off negative thoughts.
- Commit yourself to a good night’s sleep and rest.
- Start organizing and plan your day.
10. Struggles To Communicate & Collaborate With Colleagues
Collaborating with your colleagues and having constant communication with them can be a struggle for an overworked individual. It is because he/she is so busy with his/her responsibilities and couldn’t find the extra time to spend with the team.
Having open communication in the workplace is vital in reaching the goal and finishing a project on time. It is also good to use productivity apps and tools to keep track of the team’s progress. Moreover, collaborating also is an excellent way to brainstorm ideas and finding solutions to problems.
However, not all can do this, and there are some issues why it cannot be achieved. Below are some of the reasons why.
- Passive listening.
- Lack of interest in reaching out to the team.
- Conflicts in the workplace.
When people work together, it creates an area for growth and development of better ideas, increases productivity and solutions.
Here are the ways you could use to reach out and communicate better with your colleagues:
- Be open to criticism.
- Use technology for easy communication.
- Create a plausible action plan.
11. Having A Hard Time Accomplishing A Task On Time
It can be extremely frustrating to keep on checking your calendar to keep track of the deadlines. However, you are still far from finishing your tasks, and of course, the deadline is nearing.
Yes, the struggle is real when it comes to deadlines. Employees tend to push themselves to the limit just to get the job done. However, this also equals loads of stress and exhaustion.
Deadline is also essential to keep the workflow, and it keeps everyone is in sync with the organization’s goal, and most importantly, it yields productivity.
In some instances, when employees missed deadlines frequently, it is a situation that needs immediate intervention.
It does not mean that he/she cannot perform the task, but most often than not, the employee is having a hard time accomplishing the job on time due to some circumstances.
Here are a few of the reasons why:
- Miscommunication within the team/boss.
- Poor time management.
- Set priorities.
- Lack of accountability.
Consequences are inevitable whenever you failed to meet the deadline. It can damage your reputation, disappoint your superiors, and even cost damages to the company.
Here some ways you could use in handling deadlines:
- Know your priorities.
- Make a work plan.
- Get the job done promptly and avoid delays.
- Do not procrastinate.
12. Increased Mistakes/ Lapses In Work
Stress drives employees to work hard, but too much of it can have a negative effect. In a fast-paced workplace with heavy workloads, employees are prone to committing mistakes in their tasks a couple of times.
Mistakes are unavoidable and unintentional, but when it is frequently happening, then there is something wrong.
But when an employee continuously makes mistakes and lapses in their work, it is an indication that the employee is overworked and is pressuring his/herself to finish the tasks no matter what. They no longer care about the quality of their work, and double-checking never happens.
Their goal is to comply with all the tasks without knowing whether they are doing the right thing or not — the pressure from the superiors is also a factor to consider. If the employee fails to correct this, it will undoubtedly destroy the chances for promotion and destroys your credibility.
Below are some of the ways you could do to avoid lapses in your work:
- Stop multitasking.
- Create a checklist for all of your tasks.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions and clarifications.
- Always, always review your work.
- Do not procrastinate.
The Negative Effects of Overworking
We already mentioned earlier the damages of overworking to your physical and mental health. Too much work is never good for you, and if you continue doing it, the negative results are tremendous.
The pressure you give to yourself is unjustifiable, and you also need to put yourself first before anything else.
To Your Family & Friends
It is not only you that suffers from the effects of overworking. The relationship you have with your family and friends is also on the line.
You can no longer attend family gatherings such as birthdays, anniversaries, movie nights, and more. It is because you are working overtime or feel exhausted from work and need to rest. Your children and your spouse no longer feel your presence.
Moreover, you will seem distant from your friends for the lack of communication and the get-togethers. You are left out with the latest information from them. They also do not even bother to invite you for small gatherings because they know you cannot come anyways.
To Your Colleagues
Overworking can exhaust the whole team and result in many lapses in the job. Your colleagues are stressed and frustrated, causing miscommunication and even conflicts in the workplace.
Teamwork is lost because they are all focused on their jobs and meeting their respective deadlines. They will not be open to criticism and may tend to be short-tempered, which is a sign of being overworked.
To Your Career Goals
If you are overworked, you will undoubtedly have a hard time reaching your career goals. Some will think that the more workloads you have, the more you can accomplish a lot of things.
However, that is not the case for most people. If you are overworked, you tend to be less productive, disorganized, and under a lot of stress. Reaching your career goal is beyond your grasp because you are not growing, and the pressure of your heavy workload holds you back.
8 Strategies for Managing Burnout at Work
We all now know the various effects of fatigue. Your body can only take so much of the tension and stress. Sooner or later, it will take a toll on your physical and mental health, but we do not want to reach that point, right?
Here are some of the strategies you could use in managing burnout.
1. Be Realistic
Working at your full potential is essential to excel at everything. However, you also need to know you are not superhuman. You cannot take it all in one go. Remember that you have your limits. Take what is possibly manageable. Despite how your boss may feel, be open about your situation.
Be realistic, and to do that, you also need to know what you can and cannot do. You know yourself better and your capabilities as well. Do not overstress yourself thinking about why you said yes to some or too many projects that you might not be able to deliver.
The most important you need to do is to acknowledge that you cannot do it all. There is a tendency in us that we think we can do more than what we actually can. This kind of thinking can significantly impact the abilities we have.
If you feel anxious or overwhelmed because you are working outside your job description or working overtime, don’t assume the problem will eventually disappear.
Sometimes, it is also good to say no to save yourself from embarrassment, which may lead to your boss’s bad impression and disappointment. Discuss with your superior how you can transition to a standard schedule.
2. Set A Schedule For Everything
Sad to say, that this concept of “all work no play” can cause extreme stress to you and might even lead to serious health problems and might even cost you your job.
One of the strategies you could use in managing burnout is setting a schedule for everything. Effective planning is a great way to avoid burnout and make use of your time efficiently.
The first thing you need to do is come up with a to-do list for your tasks. You could do a weekly plan, monthly, or for every job you have. Learn to separate and prioritize the important and urgent ones over the others. The next thing is you need to divide your time wisely and allot them to the different tasks.
Your time management skills are also essential in making a schedule for your workloads. In this way, you could use your time productively and efficiently. Keep in mind that you also need to consider the deadlines for each task or project.
Following your schedule strictly is a great way to avoid missed deadlines and being disorganized as well.
3. Let Your Health Comes First
Sometimes when overworked, you may stop exercising, skip lunches, or sleep for a few hours. This situation is not healthy and will soon cause burnout.
For sure, someone has advised you that you are responsible for your health. Taking care of yourself first is super easy to say but too hard to do. The road to a healthy lifestyle is undoubtedly bumpy and long.
We all know that there was a point in your life that you were so determined to start being healthy, but then again, there were many distractions, things you need to attend to first, and then overall life happens. You forgot all about your healthy lifestyle goals.
However, it is still not too late to start now and by this, start small. You do not need to enroll yourself in that fitness center or subscribe to a meal diet plan.
Assess yourself what you are doing wrong and the things you need to do for your health. Regardless of your work position, create time for exercise, take lunch breaks, and eat healthy meals. Also, avoid sugar and caffeine because they increase anxiety and nervousness.
Doing exercise can relieve stress from overworking. It is one of the most effective ways to handle fatigue and stress. Even if you are not the type to go to the gym, there is no need to worry because you could do this in the comfort of your home. There are a lot of exercise videos online that you can check.
You can reap many benefits from exercising. It improves your mood, helps you relax, eases tension in your body, and makes you feel good about yourself.
Exercising also releases endorphins in your body, which are commonly known as happy hormones. These hormones trigger a positive feeling in your body and are a great way to fight stress.
Exercise can also improve your blood circulation, helping the organs in your body function properly and avoid certain health problems.
5. Take A Break
Most organizations offer paid vacations; unfortunately, some people still want to stick to the office for whatever reasons and will not avail their paid vacation leave more or less.
True, it is essential to show some sense of loyalty to your employer; however, you also need to be loyal to yourself. Keep in mind that you also need to take care of yourself first before anything else.
Sometimes, we need a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the workplace. Take time off to relax, destress, take a trip somewhere, or even rediscover your creativity.
Go on, read that book that you have wanted to read for quite a while now, or watch that thriller movie everyone is talking about.
You may even treat yourself to a good massage spa or get that haircut. Remember, you have been working so hard, and now is the time to focus on yourself and take care of it too. Take note that you cannot be efficient in your work if you are stressed and lacks the energy to do things.
That is why it is advised from time to time to recharge yourself physically and emotionally. Unless you are the chief decision-maker, things will not stop because of your absence.
6. Find Time For Yourself
Your work is important as well as yourself. That is why it is also needed for you to consider yourself and find some “me time” to cope with the stress and burnout caused by your job.
Make sure to squeeze in your busy schedule a time for yourself. It helps in rebooting your brain, allows time for deep thinking, improves your mood and health, and makes you more productive. Moreover, it also contributes to more happiness, contentment, and empathy.
Quality time is more important than quantity. Make the most of your “me time” by unwinding, finding your lost passion, and even baking your favorite cookies.
A “me time” does specifically not need to be alone time, and you also could spend it with your family and friends, if you prefer it. Most importantly, do are doing what you want. You are enjoying it and making the most of it.
7. Go Out And Socialize
Socializing can be beneficial to your overall health. First and foremost, reconnecting with your old friends and acquaintances can boost your mood.
The conversations you have with your friends, the recollection of fun memories, mentoring, and simple chitchat about your days can make a real difference.
Going out and socializing is a great way to destress; it makes you worry less, making you forget your anxiety and problems. Spending time with people can lower your stress levels and blood pressure and make you calmer and more relaxed.
Take note that you also have a life outside work, do not let it chain you from going out and having fun. Spend time with people who bring you happiness and are good for your soul. You deserve to have a stress-free life. Be yourself. It is worth it.
8. Avoid Thinking Negative Thoughts
When dealing with fatigue, you will catch yourself dwelling on each individual’s negativity or situations. Thinking about how much you dislike their presence, behavior, or the unfairness of your boss’s treatment to you will lead you nowhere and can even cause you more exhaustion.
The negativity that you hold within can quickly escalate to toxic behaviors and can hold you back from reaching your goals and full potential.
What you allow to get inside your head could have a massive impact on you. Take a step back, and assess the situation. Is it worth your while? Do you need to take it seriously? If your answer is no, then you shouldn’t bother.
Control what you think, and do not dwell on the negativity that is surrounding you. Focus on the things you can control and be productive, do not waste your time thinking negative thoughts.
It is good to start by spending your time in the present moment rather than focusing on what happened before or what could happen tomorrow? Remind yourself that this too shall pass, and there are far more important things that need your attention.
Being overworked can happen without anyone noticing. It gradually affects your personal life and career, and you will undoubtedly be caught off guard.
Do not let overworked be the reason why you no longer have the energy to enjoy family time, disrupts your social life, and even affect your work performance.
It is, therefore, vital to recognize the tell-tale signs before it is too late. Take action to address the signs and come up with a good plan on how you can manage burnout.
The effects of being overworked are more than a bad day. Apart from interfering with your regular life, it also affects how you feel about the job and how you relate to others. Use the above strategies to spot and fix being overworked.