Signs You’re Being Overworked And What You Can Control

being overworked

In our “hustle and grind” culture, there’s a thin line between being dedicated to your career and being overworked. I’m all for diligence and excellence—but not at the cost of reaching burnout. And of course, there are seasons when you have to put in extra hours to get a big project across the finish line. But life’s too short to tread water every single day. Sooner or later, you’ll start to feel like you’re drowning.

The truth is, you can make good money and do something you love without working 60–80 hours a week! Here’s how to tell if you’re being overworked so you can make a plan to change it.

Signs You’re Overworked

Being overworked can show up differently for everyone. After all, we each have a different tolerance for stress and the demands of our job. But in general, here are seven common signs of being overworked.

#1: You Have Trouble Disconnecting

In our fast-paced and wired world, we have 24/7 access to our work—it’s sitting in our pockets! Technology is completely interwoven throughout our lives, making it difficult to disconnect from the job. We’re always “on,” and—even worse—our leaders sometimes expect us to be available at all hours of the day. This constant stimulation and pressure of being on the clock makes it difficult to truly unplug and rest.

My friend and fellow Ramsey Personality Dr. John Delony explains, “You can actually become addicted to stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, that your brain releases when caught up in constant stimulation.” Insane, right? We can actually become addicted to overworking because of the stress hormones it produces! But we’ve all been there. We wake up and reach for the phone, check our email obsessively, and run around with our heads spinning because we’re caught on a technological hamster wheel.

#2: Feeling Like You’re Always Behind

The ironic thing about overworking is that it makes you less productive—at work and at home. When you spread yourself too thin, you can’t focus on anything that lights you up and fills your tank. And when your job requires extra time and attention, you can fall behind in other important areas of your life: physically, relationally, spiritually. You may no longer have the energy to hit the gym or be able to enjoy a deep conversation over dinner. And maybe even going to church on Sunday can feel like a drag. If you no longer enjoy activities that keep you feeling balanced and well, this vicious cycle of overworking can make keeping up with even basic, everyday tasks impossible.

#3: Your Health Is Declining

Your body will send signals that you’re overworking, whether your mind pays attention or not. Are you experiencing these common physical symptoms of overwork?

  • Exhaustion, brain fog and difficulty concentrating
  • Stress—feeling tense and on edge
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Weight gain or loss and poor eating habits
  • Insomnia or oversleeping in your free time
  • Body aches and mysterious pains

Listen to your gut. Let your body speak for itself—it’s trying to warn you! If you’re feeling one or many of these symptoms, it’s time to pay attention. At first, you might not think this is a big deal. But over time, you could develop some serious issues, like heart disease.1 And increased stress can lead to harmful addictions like alcoholism.

4. You’re Counting The Hours

There’s an objective measuring stick to figure out if you’re overworked: how many hours you put in each week. Sadly, 50-, 60- and even 80-hour workweeks are the norm in many work cultures.

There are always exceptions—I get it. You might be a teacher who puts in more than 40 hours every week for long stretches of time. Or maybe you’re a medical resident with a grueling schedule for the next couple of years. The point is, a healthy balance between work, recreation, relationships and rest is essential for long-term happiness and productivity. An 80-hour workweek just isn’t compatible with a well-rounded life.

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