If college taught me anything, it was that working during a bad mood or lack of motivation is pretty much a huge waste of time. If I wasn’t in the correct ‘zone’ to concentrate, I was about to waste the next few hours trying to work but miserably failing. To actually ensure productivity, I would instead simply put all my effort elsewhere (i.e. tidying, cleaning, cooking…) and get back to work later.
Refusing to give in to a break when you’re feeling under pressure will not benefit your life. That is why it’s so important to recognise when you are burning out.
If you find yourself relating to more than three of these, then it is time for you to schedule some well-needed time off…
1) YOUR JOB IS NOW YOUR LIFE
As important as your job is, if it’s the first thing you think of when you wake up, go to sleep, are out with friends or hanging with the family… perhaps it is time to remember the basic pleasures in life again.
We’ve all had to tell friends and family that we aren’t able to make it out because we have a work conflict, but it may become something that is happening too often. If you become the person who is known to “probably be too busy” to attend events, your job has far too much control. Get yourself back out there!
On the topic of social life, how often is your day-to-day conversation focused on job-related topics? Do you find yourself at the bar discussing how much your job is running you down? Are you at home discussing your next project with your boyfriend? It is time for you to remember those days you woke up to live a life that didn’t involve your boss…
2) THE DAYS YOU LOVED YOUR JOB ARE JUST A FADED MEMORY…
Do you find yourself questioning ‘what went wrong?’ and ‘when did things change?’ as you shudder over the thought of work tomorrow? If you remember the days where your job was actually enjoyable but you’re finding yourself losing that passion for no particular reason, maybe the reason is actually a lack of break.
However, the same thing can also be applied to situations that have changed along the way. Even if there is a cause and you aren’t in control of it, you also deserve a few days’ respite…
3) YOUR WAKING HOURS ARE NOW YOUR WORKING HOURS
Jobs already own a huge percentage of our time. According to http://www.pickthebrain.com, including commutes, we spend about 50 – 70 dedicated hours to work every week. We are already spending around half of our entire waking life at work. Baring that in mind, when you are leaving work, are you actually leaving work? Do you often find that work follows you home? (i.e. taking phone calls and checking emails). If work already owns so much of your life, you mustn’t allow the lines between your career and personal life to blur.
It is so important for you to work out the amount of hours you are putting into work and if that is reasonable (especially if you work for yourself and are in control of your hours).
4) YOU ARE ALWAYS TIRED AND/OR ARE STRUGGLING TO SLEEP
One of the most common causes of insomnia and poor sleep is stress. This can be down to the parade of deadlines dancing in your head keeping you up at night, or regular work-related dreams. If just entering through the doors at work brings you the irresistible urge to go nap under a desk somewhere, you’ve probably just about had enough. Working for too long without a break and breezing through life in a haze of exhaustion will cause that wasteful attempt in working through your lack of motive we spoke about earlier. Rest gives you the happiness needed to actually be productive.
5) MISTAKES ARE BECOMING TOO COMMON
This one ties nicely with the previous one. Not being well rested and feeling that extra force of pressure from work can do crazy things to your brain. For example, making typos while proofreading business reports or putting extra pepper on a customer’s dish when they specifically asked without. Between the stress of a job, being tired, irritable, and thinking about those mistakes, you’re likely going to run yourself into the ground.
The more rundown, tired or stressed out we are, the more avoidable mistakes we will make and hinder our performance at work. If these ‘little errors’ that you wouldn’t usually make are piling up, you probably need some time to recharge your batteries. When we are working too much, our brain stops paying the amount of attention that it’s supposed to.
6) EVERYTHING IS SUDDENLY SO OVERWHELMING
The biggest giveaway for me is a sudden intense feeling of being incredibly thin-skinned. A missing pen or uneven eyeliner suddenly becomes a crisis. Have you ever gotten into work, sat at your desk, looked down at your to-do list and bursted into a sea of tears? I have. But perhaps if you’re not as dramatic as me, you’ve felt like doing it.
To feel very overwhelmed is always when I know I’m in need of some perspective. The worst thing about stress is that it has the ability to erode our emotional resources, which makes it harder to deal with both big and small problems. If you truly believe everything feels just awful right now, the dread of going to work is rising and you’re being pessimistic about everything, then you must let yourself get away. You will soon become that person nobody feels a joy to be around and it will come to a point where even the smallest actions of everybody around you will start to tick you off. Worst yet, you’re in a bad mood before anything even happens to you.
Please note, if these feelings continue and/or worsen, along with an accompanied loss of interest in things you care about, consider a chat with your doctor.
7) AMBITION AND MOTIVATION ARE WORDS YOU FORGOT EXISTED…
It is easy to find yourself in a place where you are purposely making sure you are doing as little as possible. The work you assign yourself or get assigned to do seems to take forever and you want to take frequent breaks. As I was mentioning earlier, working on lack of motive is almost entirely pointless. It is about time you give in to that break your body is hinting at you to have.
A good way to recognise a lack of ambition is focusing on what your current long term goals are at the moment. Perhaps they’re non-existent because you’re only focusing on the day-to-day grind. If your dream of moving ‘up the ladder’ or finding that perfect job no longer matters to you then your priorities have fallen out of order. Time must be taken out to re-learn what it is you are really after.
The truth is, the majority of people are owned by their job. What’s worse, is that people don’t realise they are because it’s so common to be. This blogpost was not meant to be miserable, but it is just a gentle nudge to remind you that your body gives great warning signs… all you must do now is listen!