While developing a good work ethic is important for career success, in our current “hustle culture”, a good work ethic can quickly morph into an unrelenting dedication to work above all else. But is sacrificing other parts of your life, including your family, friends and your own well-being, worth it? If your spouse or partner regularly complains that they never see you, your kids don’t remember the last time you attended one of their events or spent time with them, or you can’t remember the last time you had a good laugh with friends, it might be time to re-evaluate your work-life balance. The perils associated with habitually devoting all your time and energy into your working life can lead to devastating consequences for you and everyone around you. To avoid the potential negative effects of an overzealous work ethic, it’s important to recognize the signs. Here are a few of the more obvious indicators that you might be dedicating too much time to work.
You can’t disconnect from the office
When the workday ends for everybody else, you just can’t seem to leave it behind. Rather than go home to spend time with family and friends, you bring work home. It’s not uncommon for you to cut family time short to crack open your laptop and continue working. You constantly check your smartphone for work-related emails or text messages to ensure you don’t miss anything. It’s routine for you to schedule appointments, set up meetings for the following day or engage in conversations with colleagues and clients on personal time. Meanwhile, your family and friends learn to adapt to never having you around.
You regularly ditch family and friends
In your world, work always takes priority over family and friends. If the boss calls on a Saturday night, you don’t think twice about abandoning plans with your spouse or partner, your kids or your best buddies. Routinely, your working life spills into your personal life and disrupts time that should be spent with loved ones. What’s worse, you are so consumed with the most recent work-related call to action that you never see or hear the familiar disappointment felt by family because of your skewed priorities.
You can’t engage in conversations without talking about work
Inevitably whenever you engage in conversations with family and friends, it always circles around to work. Small talk or conversations about anything other than work are challenging for you. If you do engage in small talk, it’s only until you find your moment to segue into discussing your next big project or how you landed the biggest account.
You have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep
Work issues keep you up at night. You lay awake thinking about potential solutions to a work-related problem or brainstorming about an upcoming project, event or acquisition. Sleep is a luxury you feel you can’t afford, especially when there are so many work-related conquests to be made. You tell yourself that you’ll sleep when you’re dead or after you’ve wrapped up that big account or finished the latest project.
You struggle to delegate and become impatient with everyone
Delegating work-related tasks and responsibilities to team members and colleagues is difficult for you. If you delegate, you lose control over the outcome. Can you really trust that the work will get done the way you want it done? Unfortunately, when you refuse to allocate some of these tasks and responsibilities, you just increase your workload and late nights become the norm. When you combine a crushing workload and late nights with a lack of sleep, you can begin to feel overwhelmed. Suddenly, even the smallest thing can annoy you, which could lead to you unintentionally lashing out at work or at home.
You attach your self-worth to work achievements
Many of us define our self-worth by the jobs we hold, the amount of money we make or on our achievements because as a society, we value these things. However, defining your self-worth on these external factors is a risky move. Unexpected events, such as an economic downturn, a job loss, a pandemic or even a health concern could negatively impact how you feel about yourself. Self-worth or the value you place on yourself should embody more than just your work life.
If you recognize any of these indicators in your own life, take time to re-evaluate your priorities. Listen to your partner or spouse when they tell you that you are never available or that they often feel lonely. Working too much can lead to many negative side effects, including mental and physical health issues and lost relationships with the people we love the most. While it can be tough to make time for family and friends, as well as self-care or other personal activities, it’s a must to be a healthy, well-rounded individual. Seek the help of a knowledgeable consultant to help you redefine your work ethic, set boundaries and create a better work-life balance for you that is more inclusive of family, friends and personal aspirations.