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8 Alerts You’re Overworked Even When You Don’t Feel You Are (Go Home Now!)

8 Alerts You’re Overworked Even When You Don’t Feel You Are (Go Home Now!)

In order to be productive, we’ve got to be on our A-game. Sure, we can tell when we’re hungry or when we’re tired, but sometimes it can be hard to detect when we’ve worn ourselves too thin. If you’ve been feeling more stressed lately, or you’ve noticed your productivity going down, check out these eight signs that you’re overworked. If they sound familiar to you, go home and get some rest!

1. You’re easily frustrated.

Things that may not have bothered you a few hours ago are now frustrating you to no end. The copier is jammed. Your coffee is cold. These little things that are usually no big deal are now adding up and putting you in a really bad mood. This is a sign that you’ve reached your wit’s end and need to take a break. Try to take some deep breaths to avoid getting more frustrated.

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2. You have trouble remembering things.

Where did you put your stapler? Or that business report? What’s 10 times five, again? When even the simplest things become hard to recall, it might be a sign that you should stop working and step back. When there’s too much on your mind all at once, it can be hard to remember the littlest details.

3. You’re snapping at others.

Becoming short or easily irritated with other people can also signify that you’re overworked. If you were unintentionally rude to people for (seemingly) no reason, try to step back and recognize that it probably wasn’t them — it was you! And remember, apologize to whoever you snapped at.

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4. Your workspace is becoming more and more cluttered.

Einstein himself is credited with insinuating that an empty desk signified an empty mind. However, there’s a fine line between organized chaos and downright dirty. If you’re harboring empty coffee cups, useless scraps of paper, food wrappers, or other trash-like items, it could be a sign that you’re being overworked. Make sure you take a break, but first things first: clean your workspace!

5. You’re daydreaming more than usual.

When we’re overworked, sometimes our minds compensate by taking us out of the situation more and more often. If you’re daydreaming or drifting off at work, it could be a sign that your mind is protecting you from the stress of working so much.

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6. You aren’t happy at work (but you used to be).

It’s one thing to be unhappy at work when you never liked your job to begin with. But it’s quite another thing to start to hate a job you once loved. While this could be a sign that you’re just not meant to be in this profession, it’s much more likely that you’re simply overworked and in need of some space between you and your job.

7. You’re getting sick more frequently.

Stress can make the body more susceptible to things like the common cold and the flu, both of which are pretty common in office settings to begin with. If you’re usually pretty healthy, a sudden turn for the worse can indicate that your immune system just can’t keep up with how much you work. Make sure you get things checked out by a doctor to make sure it’s not something worse. However, chances are you’re just working too hard. Do yourself (and your coworkers) a favor and take a sick day.

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8. You’re taking your work problems home.

While it can sometimes be hard to separate work from your personal life, it’s never a good thing to come home still stressed about whatever happened at work today. If you’re having a hard time differentiating between your home life and your professional life, try to step back and assess the real reason you’re having these problems.

Featured photo credit: Evil Erin via flickr.com

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Maggie Heath

Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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