Constantly feeling exhausted? Often dreading tomorrow (or the next day, or an upcoming deadline)?
In today’s economy and workplace culture, it’s easy to overwork. But it’s unsustainable and can have long-term, even harmful impacts on your wellness and growth. In other words, if you want to thrive, you have to stop overworking.
There are two types of “overwork” and they have different symptoms but similar solutions. Keep reading to learn about both types and learn simple solutions to help you stop overworking and start thriving.
Working Beyond Capacity
Working beyond capacity simply means that someone is working beyond their mental, emotional, or physical capacity. Meaning, they are working to an extent that infringes on their wellness. If you’re working beyond capacity, you’ll see unbelievable benefits when you finally stop overworking. These include more energy, a sense of passion and purpose, and calm responses (instead of rash reactions).
Signs and symptoms include:
- Constantly feeling exhausted.
- Having a hard time winding down to sleep or winding up to get out of bed.
- Deeply dreading tomorrow (or the next day, or an upcoming deadline).
- Scattered thoughts and feeling easily distracted, as opposed to being present.
- Feeling like a failure or unworthy of support or recognition.
Working Beyond Reciprocation
Working beyond reciprocation is a term for when an employee works too much for too little reward. This type of overworking is the most common and describes anyone who allows others to undervalue them. Time, energy, and focus are our most precious resources. Therefore, our investments must be compensated and appreciated accordingly.
Symptoms and signs include:
- People consistently request work that falls outside the current written role description attached to your contract.
- You are underpaid and would earn significantly more compensation and recognition in a similar role in a comparable organization.
- Someone takes credit for your ideas, hard work, or outcomes you produced with little to no support from them.
Three Simple Solutions to Stop Overworking
While the two types of overwork outlined above are different, they share similar solutions. If you find yourself experiencing these signs, here are three simple and necessary practices to prevent or resolve overwork:
1. Ask for the resources and help you need:
It‘s rare to have a boss and colleagues who know the resources and support your role requires. Acknowledge when you need a bigger budget, another teammate, more information, or a thought partner.
2. Set clear boundaries around your time:
Whether salaried, contracted, or hourly, it’s critical to set boundaries that allow other areas of your life to thrive. Consider the importance of time with family, at the gym, sleeping, and practicing a hobby. These activities shape your fulfillment and wellness, which allows your hard work to be sustainable. Allocate time in a balanced and mindful way to all of your top priorities.
3. Give yourself the recognition you deserve, and make sure others do, too:
Most people cannot recognize us unless we value ourselves. Just as time boundaries have to come from you, so do boundaries around appreciation and respect. Accept credit when it is given (if you’ve earned it) and be accountable to advocate for the recognition you deserve.
In today’s economy and workplace culture, it’s easy to overwork. But it’s unsustainable and can have long-term, even harmful impacts on your wellness and growth. Remember, the most critical, unspoken responsibility of any role is to set powerful boundaries based on sustainable growth and wellness.
My suggestion? Stop overworking – and get your life back.