Overworked - Six clear signs of being overworked and how to deal with it.

Do you have the feeling that you're always working or do you feel like there's not enough time in your personal life to get everything done? If so, chances are you are overworking yourself.

Overworking is a huge problem in our work culture today, and the pandemic played a part in that. Reasons for that are that lots of people lost their jobs and are now working multiple jobs to make ends meet whilst others are working from home and dealing with their kids at the same time. 

But, no matter the reason, if you’re feeling overworked, it’s important to take a step back and assess the situation.
22. July 2022  • 6 minute read

Being overworked - what is that?

Overworking is defined as working beyond the normal limits of time or energy. This in turn can lead to exhaustion, which can harm your work performance, but more importantly, your health, and wellbeing. Overworking is often underestimated, but is one of the most common reasons for burnouts.

Six clear signs of being overworked

There are several factors that can contribute to overworking. One of the biggest being the 24/7 workplace culture. Because of technology, we are always connected and available. This means that we can be working at all hours of the day, or at least, be reminded of work. Other factors include job insecurity, long work days, unrealistic deadlines, and a lack of control over our work. While all these factors may seem to justify overworking, it is of great importance to set healthy boundaries.

Don't get distracted - do the work!

If you're finding yourself getting distracted often, it might be because feeling overwhelmed. When we're overwhelmed, our brains are trying to tell us to take a break. If you can't focus on your work, it's important to take a step back and assess the situation. Maybe you need to take a break or maybe you need to adjust your workload. Organizing the tasks in a list will eliminate spending too much time on simple tasks. Prioritizing your tasks will boost the feeling of productivity.

Prioritise time off

Working around the clock is not sustainable and will eventually lead to a burnout. It is therefor important to maintain a healthy balance between working and taking time for yourself. Overworking yourself will not only lead to physical and mental exhaustion, but it can also cause relationship problems. When you're always working, you're not able to spend quality time with your loved ones. It's important to take breaks, vacations, and weekends off to prevent being overworked. This will help you recharge and come back to work refreshed. Spoiler alert: this is when your creativity peaks and great ideas come to life.

Work in collaboration

Working alone may seem like an easier way to tackle tasks, but it can lead to more stress. When we're alone, we tend to take on more than we can handle. Working in collaboration with others can help prevent overwork as it allows us to delegate tasks, share ideas, and provide support for one another.

Set clear goals and responsibilities

If you're finding that your workload is always changing or that you're never quite sure what's expected of you, it might be a sign that you're having a hard time setting boundaries. Being in an unhealthy work environment can be one of the biggest causes of overwork. When we don't have clear goals and responsibilities, we tend to take on more than we can handle, which in turn can lead to being overworked.

It's important to sit down with your boss and set clear expectations. If you're unclear about what's expected of you, ask for clarification. Once you have a better understanding of your responsibilities, it will be easier to set boundaries and say no when needed.

Struggling with disconnection

Working overtime can lead to an obsession with work and a feeling of being unable to relax. If you're struggling to disconnect, it's important to take a step back and assess the situation. Maybe you need to reevaluate what is important to you and make some changes. To prevent burnout it is important to notice the warning signs of having trouble disconnecting. It is important to have a work culture that understands the importance of disconnecting to minimize the chance of overworked employees.

Symptoms of being overworked

There are many emotional and physical symptoms of being overworked. Some of the most common include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling anxious or stressed
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Upset stomach
The consequences of being overworked can lead to a variety of health problems, both physical and mental. Some of the most common health issues include anxiety and depression, which are the results of burnout. In more severe cases having high blood pressure is a common symptom of being overworked. High blood pressure can result in serious diseases such as heart diseases, strokes, obesity, and diabetes.

Techniques to improve your work-life balance

In today's society, it is important to create a company culture that is concerned with extra hours and work schedules. Evaluating these factors on a regular basis can ensure that workers have enough hours to rest. Working longer hours does not mean that an individual is more productive. It often has the opposite effect. Employees who work overtime are more likely to make mistakes, have accidents, and experience health problems like stress. Common signs of a stress-filled life are feeling like you do not spend enough time with your family.

If you're struggling to find a work-life balance, there are some things you can do to make it easier. Here are three techniques to help you achieve a better work-life balance:

Be realistic about what you can accomplish

One of the biggest mistakes we make is taking on too much. We overcommit ourselves because we want to please others or because we don't want to disappoint anyone. This can lead to us feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It's important to be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day, week, or month. Overcommitting yourself will only lead to burnout.

To achieve a work-life balance, it's important to set boundaries. This means learning to say no. You can't do everything, and that's okay. Prioritize your commitments and don't take on more than you can handle. This will help you avoid burnout and maintain healthy work. When you're at work, focus on work and when you're at home, focus on home. This will help you disconnect from work and enjoy your time.

Trust your gut feeling

We all have a gut feeling about things. This is our intuition telling us what we should or shouldn't do. When it comes to working, our gut can be a great indicator of how much work should we take on. If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it's probably because you are feeling stuck or do not have enough personal time.

At a certain point make sure to schedule breaks throughout the day so you can take a few minutes to relax and recharge. This will help you refocus and be more productive when you return to work.

It's important to make time for yourself, outside of work. This can be time for your hobbies, interests, or just to relax. It's important to have an outlet outside of work like spending time with family and friends to relieve stress. When you have a healthy outlet for stress, you're less likely to feel overwhelmed at work.

Unplug from work regularly

In today's world, we are always connected. With emails, texts, and social media, it's hard to disconnect from work. It's important to unplug from work regularly. This means turning off your phone, email notifications, and anything else that distracts you from your personal life. When you're at home, focus on being present with your family and friends. Do not think about work.

It can be difficult to switch off from work, but it's important to try. When you're constantly connected to work, you're more likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed. If you can't completely disconnect, try to set boundaries for yourself. For example, only check work emails during certain times of the day or only respond to work calls during your lunch break. This will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Protect your staff from getting overworked

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your staff is not getting overworked. To make sure your employees are not working too much you can record their working hours. By registering their working hours in a work schedule in advance and holding your employees accountable for the times, you can minimise overwork. The use of a scheduling system can be very helpful here, as they often have a time clock that allows you to measure actual start and finish times.


Overworking yourself is a common problem in today's society. It's important to be aware of the symptoms of overwork so you can take steps to avoid it. Overworking can lead to serious health problems, so it's important to take care of yourself. If you're struggling to find a work-life balance, there are various techniques you can leverage to make it easier. Be realistic about what you can accomplish, trust your gut feeling, and unplug from work regularly.
Agota Vonya
UX designer/ researcher

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