What to do if you feel you work too much

We all know the feeling. Try googling “work too much” and you will get multiple links with how to know if you work too much or why it is not good for you. There was none in top 15 with what to do about it. And one reason is that while the feeling of frustration and signs of too much is something we all have ever experienced, the reasons why and what you can do are unique to you.

My challenge with these top 15 links on “do I work to much” is that ruminating and thinking does not address the problem. So I am putting together what works for me to get out of circle of complaint into few concrete changes that I personally can make:

My 3 questions to understand the “WHY”

  • Name the feeling… why it is concerning to you “I work too much and I am tired” and “I work too much and I am not getting promoted”I work too much and I wish I spend more time with children” would evoke different corrective actions. Knowing the WHYs is always first step.
  • Think of timeframe. “I work too much always” vs “I work too much over last 3 months” can help to define why it happens and what can you do differently.
  • Remind yourself what is the context, why you are working at all and what if you stop working. “I work too much in this role because I want to stay in Europe and I need to excel otherwise I will go back to Ukraine…. Is a result of choice” “what if I decided to resign…. What if I decided to come back to my home country… what if I decided to move to a different company” . One of my mentors mentions “when it gets difficult I always remind myself that one of two reasons I am working is to show to my children that women can have a career and role model the world of equal opportunities to them.”

My  5 “HOWs”  to feel better

  • Act on 1 thing that makes you most frustrated with “too much”. For me too much is getting up 5 -6 am everyday to do work before work. For me too much is doing work that does not matter (in my pov)  – so  more of process/priorities question.  Among the two definitions second is much more impactful on works and life satisfaction but also one that is more difficult to address. Choose to address 1 but more important one.
  • Look around to see what else is available on the job market. If nothing else can get you to your overarching objective – you are reassured you are doing right thing to reach your goals. IF there are better choices – try them instead of complaining. Yesterday I searched and did not find anything exciting, so I get back to my desk in comfort that I have the best job there is today.
  • Make ruthless prioritization of what you do (inspired by “4 hours working week”) where you can. Cut out the crap. For me, its not attending meetings where I may be optional.
  • Stick to core of your definition of how balanced life should be. “I never work on weekends and Friday evenings. I never work at home when we have few hours of daily family time – i.e. 7-10pm” I do not like to work in the mornings but if something still needs to get done – it is my choice to do it from 5 to 7am instead of coming home after children are in bed” Reframing it as a choice helps to feel better.
  • Find the light in the end of tunnel when will you refresh and relax. I personally get my energy from planning weekends and short vacations – knowing they are coming helps and look into my calendar on 3 months basis by weeks. I can identify 1-2 weeks that will be lighter than others and it gives fresh breath.

Move from fact “I work to much” to action “Why I work too much and how can I feel better” . Try it and you will feel better. Guaranteed.

I do feel I work too much in the last 6-9 months, I am practicing my own advice here – and will go to find my light at the end of tunnel

Have a good start of the week that is “not too much”

Polina