Working too hard is an addiction just as any other. We feel the rush that we can make it for just a few more hours, and the bliss of success when we’re able to achieve so much more. And yet, we are humans and weak. We are not built to work for long hours. Long hours might initially make us feel proud of ourselves and build our success, helping us to advance in our careers and financial situation, but very soon they will reveal the side effects. Here are some signs your body and mind are sending you to suggest that you are working way too hard.
1. You are tired every day
You haven’t had one satisfying sleep in months, or maybe years. You don’t even know what it means anymore to have a refreshing good night sleep, and an enjoyable wake up at the first rays of the sun. You feel fatigued all the time. You probably have back pain, or your muscles feel atrophied. Especially if you are working long hours on your PC, you will be facing stressful conditions on your body really fast. Your body needs physical activity, and without it, your muscles, bones, back, neck, eyes and basically everything will start to hurt. Moreover, you will be losing your strength and immunity and you will get sick fairly easy. If you are always fatigued, that’s a big sign that you’ve been working way too hard.
2. You have lost brain elasticity
Does this ever happen to you: you start a task, or a sentence, but in the middle of it, you forget what you were doing? You lose focus easily and, moreover, are unable to find solutions for problems that used to be so easy months or years ago. Especially if you pride yourself as a multi-tasker, taking too much on in a short period of time will basically overload your neurons. You will have a shorter attention span, problems with memory, simple problem solving skill losses and you will start to feel less intelligent.
Especially if you are not getting enough sleep, you are denying your brain the time to restart and reboot its synapses. Your brain needs a pause to catch up, regroup, re-energise. Long hours of work may damage your circuits, and you will not be able to think, see or analyse things clearly. This is a big sign that you should stop what you’re doing and take more breaks. Take walks, do yoga or other physical activities, or just catch up with sleep. Give your brain a rest. You really need it.
3. You hate the job you’re doing
Especially if you loved the job you were doing before and nothing has really changed, when you really start hating or not caring about what you’re doing, maybe you’re just working too hard. We all have limitations. You enjoyed going to work, coming up with new ideas, conversing with your colleagues, finding new solutions, creating great and original work. But now every task seems long and is dragged out. Your body and mind are telling you subconsciously that you need to stop working so hard, by making you hate the job you previously loved.
4. Anger issues
You start to pick fights with your colleagues or your boss. You are getting more and more upset each day about the simplest of things. Even your colleague tapping on the table may drive you insane. You have been working so hard lately that your screaming brain, which has been telling you to stop and take a rest, is now screaming to you through your more intense emotions, and anger is the most powerful emotion of all.
5. You don’t care
You have lost your drive. You’ve lost your initiative. You are not motivated anymore. You are simply working on each task automatically. You don’t even notice mistakes anymore. You might not even care. Hell, you may just make mistakes to see if you can get away with them. After all, some part of you wants you to get caught, maybe fired and thus able to take a rest.
If you are feeling any of these symptoms or emotions, it is probably time to give yourself a rest. Don’t work too hard. Work smart. Work productive. And give your body and mind the rest it needs to be more energised and motivated for the next tasks. If the fatigue is becoming serious then it may be worth dropping into your local GP to check there is nothing more serious wrong.