Why are you constantly working long hours and feeling exhausted?

By , August 28, 2013 2:31 pm

Man chained with office table (workplace) 2“Remember this: Burnout is not a crisis of time, it is a crisis of spirit.”

James Autry – Author.

In my role as a coach I notice the working habits of my clients as they share their working world with me. There is no difference between the habits of a corporate employee or a business owner: the patterns are the same. Most people are working too hard and the balance between work and personal time is sometimes non-existent.

There’s too much to do, not enough hours in the day and you’re unfocused because you’re getting splattered and distracted too easily.

You know you need to prioritize, etc. Most of us know what we should be doing. The main issue is actually a deeper one and while time management principles might help it’s important to also address the cause.

Let me explain…

If you don’t have some balance in your personal time and your work, then I can guarantee that you won’t remain productive for very long. I’m sure you have proven this to yourself in the past (I have for sure!). Overwhelm or burnout is waiting around the corner. You’ll soon start to make mistakes and become exhausted.

I’ve noticed that a lack of balance causes burnout in a couple of ways:

1. Obsessed with work – Nothing else in your life matters. Everything revolves around this. Work becomes the priority and you find reasons to work and excuses for avoiding any other activity such as creating personal time or family time. You become addicted to work and you feed off this stimulus. Burnout is when your relationships fail and your health becomes a problem because you’re not paying attention to the basics.

2. Overwhelmed by work – Workloads become so much of a burden that you lose all sense of any meaning or value in your work. You become disillusioned both on a psychological and emotional level, that you feel trapped and stuck. “Is this all there is?” You feel pretty miserable and exhausted.

Most successful people are dedicated, hard working and conscientious and there are times where you have to burn the mid-night oil or work through the weekend to get something done. This is perfectly okay and normal. There is a significant difference, though, if this is happening all the time and it is relentless.

No one is productive for 7 hours a day. So you’ll be even less productive if you consistently work 12, 13 or 15 hours a day (Research has proven this)!

So if this is happening there is a problem that needs addressing.

Here are some questions to ask your self:

  • Why are you constantly working long hours and feeling exhausted?
  • Are you really being productive in all these hours you are working?

If the answer is…

NO - You may be working long hours and staying late at the office, but without any real focused activity. This is a self-related issue.

  • You may be using your work as an excuse to hide from other activities such as an unhappy (or no) personal life.
  • You might not know what to do with yourself when you are not working because you’ve gotten out of the habit of relaxing and enjoying hobbies, interests, family and friends.
  • You have become addicted to work.
  • You may be dis-organized and need to practice some self-management principles consistently.

Get some support to help you learn and consistently implement some self-management principles, get focused, set some boundaries and begin to create a personal life for yourself outside of work.

If the answer is…

YES - If you are being productive in all the hours you’re working, then this is telling you a different story because this is a job-related issue. Here are some things to consider:

  • You have too much to do!
  • The structure of the job itself needs to be reviewed because it’s impossible to achieve everything in regular hours.
  • You may have become a people pleaser saying yes to everyone else and no to you.
  • You’re trying to do everything!
  • You think that saying no to extra work is a weakness.
  • You are not realistic about what you can achieve.

You might need some support to help you learn how to delegate or outsource aspects of your role, get some hired help, set some boundaries and learn to be more assertive and say no. Review the role it’s not realistic.

I used to work in an organization where the managers defined dedicated hard workers as people who worked consistently long hours. This is a false delusion because you won’t accomplish more because you’re not able to be as productive. The quality suffers and you’ll make mistakes.

If you manage people, then role model balance to your team if you want them to be more productive and focused. You can’t expect them to do one thing, but you demonstrate another.

Check in on your working habits and do one thing today that helps you to create a healthier balance between your work and business life.

 

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