It should come as no surprise that burnout and stress are at all-time highs, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). In their 2021 Work and Well-Being Survey, 79% of respondents reported feeling work-related stress in the month before the survey. Another study conducted by the employment website Indeed also highlighted that burnout is on the rise. Over half of survey respondents indicated that they experienced burnout in 2021—up from 43% who said the same in Indeed’s pre-pandemic survey. One primary reason for the burnout epidemic is that employees are being overworked.
Think about it—how many times has a colleague left the company and you’ve been asked to take on all or part of their responsibilities for little or no extra pay? Or perhaps you were offered that coveted promotion only a year after you proved that you could handle the additional responsibilities (in addition to your current ones). The pressure to be perceived as “productive” at work can be intense, especially when co-workers create a precedent for that sort of workplace culture.
Fortunately, there are common symptoms that indicate you are overworked. If you identify any of these ten warning signs, it’s time to develop a self-care plan to get you back on a healthy trajectory.
You have trouble disconnecting
When employees are overworked, they tend to feel like they must be “always on.” As a result, they are constantly on their laptops and cell phones checking email for fear of falling behind. If you have trouble disconnecting at the end of the day or on weekends, that could be a sign that you are overworked.
You are doing the work of multiple people
When colleagues are laid off or leave the company, many times, those positions aren’t backfilled. Yet, projects still need to get done. That leaves you doing the work of two or three people, which can get exhausting.
You work overtime on a regular basis
Working overtime when special projects come up is not unusual. But you shouldn’t need to work evenings and weekends regularly just to keep your head above water. When working overtime becomes a consistent part of your job, that’s a red flag.
You’ve lost your passion
Another sign that you’re overworked is losing passion for your job. It’s impossible to feel fulfilled by and excited about your career when you are working crazy hours all day, every day. If you dread going to work, that’s a sign you may be spending too much time there.
You feel constantly distracted
Overworked employees can be easily distracted. Stress can make you feel this way by causing you to think of your long, endless to-do list. If you find it challenging to maintain focus throughout the day, it could signal that you are overworked.
Your productivity is decreasing
While it sounds counterintuitive, overworking makes you less productive. That’s because you spread yourself so thin that it becomes difficult to focus properly on any task. When you spend too much time working, it can even impact your family life by making it hard to keep up with personal projects and commitments.
You lack energy for simple tasks
When you are overworked, your brain feels overwhelmed. When your mind is racing, it can make completing even easy projects a chore. As a result, you may fall farther behind on your workload, which results in even more stress.
Your health is deteriorating
When you start experiencing severe physical symptoms because of overwork, it’s time to take action. Some common signs include:
- Significant weight changes
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Increased blood pressure
- Being tired all the time
- Unexplained aches and pains
Your personal relationships are suffering
When was the last time you had dinner with your family or put the kids to bed? If long work hours are causing your personal relationships to suffer, it could be a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard.
You’re constantly procrastinating
When you find yourself scrolling through Instagram or online shopping during the day as your deadlines loom closer, it could be a sign of overwork. When we have too much on our plate, procrastination is a coping mechanism. However, while it may feel like a nice escape, it can eventually lead to even more stress as you get further behind on your projects.
Just know that overwork is not necessary for professional success. Instead, by working smarter and establishing healthy boundaries, you’ll get that much closer to achieving the balance you deserve.