Hard work is important and often essential, particularly when you are starting a new business or trying to turn a recently launched venture into a successful enterprise.
However, it’s just as crucial to know when you’re working too hard. Pushing yourself beyond your limits can pose a serious threat to your health and also to the efficiency and productivity of your business.
Here are some tell-tale signs that you are overdoing it at work and need to slow down:
1. ‘Time off’ is a foreign concept
Whether it’s holiday time or sick leave, everyone needs to take some time off work occasionally, even if you have the responsibility for managing pretty much everything in a small business.
If you find that you are forcing yourself to work despite feeling unwell, or that you can’t remember when you last had a holiday, it’s time to take a break.
2. Work is all you ever think about
Work is an important part of life, of course, but it shouldn’t be the only subject that is ever on your mind.
If business is the last thing you think about before going to sleep and your first thought in the morning, it could be a sign that you are putting yourself under too much pressure.
Simple practices such as reading a book, going out for a long walk in the evening or having a go at meditation can help to clear the mind.
3. Your personal life is suffering
Work-life balance is a concept to which many people attach a lot of importance these days. Even if you run your own business, your workload shouldn’t be so heavy that you have no time or energy to dedicate to other parts of life.
It’s massively important to make time available for things that are completely unrelated to work, such as spending time with your family, seeing friends and keeping up with hobbies.
4. You can’t put down your phone
Technology can be both a blessing and a curse for workers these days. Smartphones and the vast array of apps on offer make it easier than ever to keep up with work tasks, but the downside is that it is harder than ever to switch off.
If you find that you spend more time looking at your phone screen than anything else, even when you are at home in the evening, the chances are you are working too hard and need to simply turn all electronic devices off.
5. You’re experiencing stress-related health issues
Your body is the perfect indicator of your overall wellbeing, not only in a physical sense but in terms of stress and mental health, too.
Bodily complaints such as migraines, back pain, muscular tension and stomach aches can all be caused and exacerbated by stress and exhaustion. If you are experiencing these sorts of health issues, listen to your body and stop pushing yourself so hard at work.
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