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Are you working too much? How much work is too much? Today you’ll find clear signs work is too much and ways to overcome each one. 

Today’s work environment asks for committed, driven people, focused on their outcome, a team player dedicated to the company.

While it’s great to be all those things between 9 am and 5 pm, there is a time of going home and being none of those things. 

You should give your best in your career (or your job) because this will most likely be the place where you will make the most money. However, it should not consume your entire life. 

The great thing is: if you experience your work as too much, you’re great at your job. You’re competent, smart, and people love to work with you. If you’re good, you can get more work pushed your way than you could ever finish. 

It is a great way to set boundaries, make sure that everything you deliver is still of excellent quality, and have a life outside of work. 

Here are clear signs your work is too much, plus the actions you need to take. 

7 Big Signs Work Is Too Much & What To Do
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How Much Is Too Much At Work?

For the majority of people, working 40 to 50 hours a week is more than enough. When you feel that you’re only working and have no time to de-stress, this is a clear sign work is too much. If you feel that work is consuming your life, this is the moment to cut back. 

If you’re putting in more than 10 hours in your average workday, that means you’re working overtime. While doing overwork for a short period of time can be okay, it should not become your new standard.

Clear Signs Work Is Too Much & What To Do

When people say that you need to give your career everything, that doesn’t mean you should continue working until you can’t anymore. Here are some clear signs work is too much and you are overdoing it. 

1. You Have Zero Free Time

You have the feeling you spend every moment at the office. When you are not at the office physically, you still check your work email. What if something happens? What if they need you? 

You tell yourself you can’t take a vacation. That would bring even more stress and workload to you, making sure that by the time you would take a break, you’ll be completely exhausted.

Your workweeks are stressful, you work more than eight hours per day, you are feeling overwhelmed, and your stress levels are through the roof.

What To Do About It?

Don’t try to fill every possible second of your life with work. While you may be good at what you do, it is essential to rest and have some free time. 

Having a work-life balance is a great way to make your career sustainable and prevent burnout. 

If you have consistently too much on your plate, talk with your manager. If you are the go-getter who takes over the responsibilities of other people, give it back. You don’t need to do everything to do a good job. 

It is not important how many things you do. It is important how you do the things you do. When you have no free time, and all you do is working, chances are that you make some inevitable mistakes. You are exhausted. 

Give your body and your mind a break, and do some fun things with friends

2. Even When You Have Free Time, You Think About Work

You think about work when you go to sleep, you think about work when you wake up, you think about work when you’re showering, and you think about work when you’re doing groceries. You get the point. You’re always thinking about work, even when you have time to think about other things. 

What To Do About It?

When you’re always thinking about work, it may be a good idea to do more fun things. Go out with your partner, meet some friends, have a good time, and try to talk about anything but work. 

If this is not something the relaxes you, try to do some other fun things. Read a book unrelated to work, read a magazine, watch a movie, or learn a new skill. 

It may set your mind from work toward other things. 

It’s also important to take a rest day on the weekend, prioritize vacation time, and recharge. You will return happier.

3. All Your Goals Are Career-Related

You’re having a chat with your friends, and one of them asks what your goals are. Your friends mention things career-related, family, travel, the place they would love to live, and more. 

When you are thinking about your goals, you can only think about career-related goals. You want to have that promotion, that big raise, and eventually become a partner at your firm. All the goals that come to mind are career-related, and you can’t think of anything else. 

What To Do About It?

While it is great to have career-related goals, they should be your entire future life. Your career is just a part of your life. Don’t become a workaholic.

It’s okay if you think your career is an integral part of your life, but your career certainly isn’t your entire life. 

Think about the places you want to travel to, things you want to do with your family, where you would like to live, and dream big. It’s great to have goals not related to your career because your life is so much more than that. 

4. You Only Ever Talk About Work

Well, if all your goals are career-related, you probably can’t talk about anything other than work either. 

It doesn’t matter who asks you, you always want to talk about work. You either update them on your job or tell another office-story. 

Check in with yourself and see if that is you. When you only talk about your job, it may be a sign that work is too much, and you need to take a step back. You don’t want your career to be your entire life.

What To Do About It? 

Be aware when you’re only talking about work. Correct yourself and start talking about other fun things you’ve done over the last few weeks. 

You don’t even have to talk about yourself. Ask the other person how they are doing, and you can shift the conversation entirely. 

The people around you will probably be happy not to hear about your job all day. 

5. Your Productivity Is Decreasing

A Stanford study found that people who work 70 hours per week produce as much work as their colleagues who work 56 hours per week. It means that when you’re putting in more hours, you don’t always have something to show for it. Side note: this research is done in a factory setting.

Another study by Vouchercloud of 2,000 office employees found that most people don’t work for most of the time they’re at work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports people are at work every day for 8.8 hours on average. How much do they work according to the study? Just under 3 hours a day

What were they doing?

  • Reading news (1 hour 5 minutes)
  • Checking social media (44 minutes, during the working day)
  • Chatting with colleagues (40 minutes)
  • Searching for new jobs (26 minutes)
  • Smoking breaks (23 minutes)
  • Calling to people outside work like a partner or friends (18 minutes)
  • Going to get drinks (17 minutes)
  • Texting (14 minutes)
  • Eating snacks (8 minutes)
  • Making food (7 minutes)

I would say there are some big time wasters on that list. While it may seem impossible, you can do your work in less time and actually increase your mental health.

What To Do About It When Work Is Too Much? 

I firmly believe working 8 hours per day is too much. Working more than that is not an option for me. With only three hours per day productive for the average office worker, don’t feel guilty for leaving the office when the clock hits 5 pm. Following normal working hours is great. You don’t have to put in long work hours to offer value at your job.

Spend the hours you’re at the office productive, and don’t feel guilty when you’re going home on time. 

Here are some time management hacks:

  • Check your email once per day
  • Make a to-do list
  • Stay away from the TV
  • Cut back on the social
  • Stop multitasking
  • Learn to say NO

6. You Seem To Never Get Enough Sleep

When your work is too much, you never seem to get enough sleep. You may have trouble shutting off your mind, being unable to sleep at night, or feel like you need to check work at night. 

When you’re not getting enough sleep, your productivity decreases, you can feel a little grumpy, and you have an increased risk for severe health problems like heart disease. 

When you’re under too much stress, sleep can seem less important. However, to feel less anxious and to cope with stress, sleep is extremely important.

What To Do About It?

When you’re not resting enough during the day, your mind may not shut off during the night. Something that can help is taking breaks during the day when you’re working. 

A productivity technique that is also great for taking breaks is the Pomodoro-technique. It is a schedule where you are working for 25 minutes and taking 5 minutes rest afterward. After four cycles, you take 25 minutes of rest.

Plus, what helps me is to make my body tired. Work out, move, walk outside, make sure that your body is tired so that you can sleep properly in the evening. 

7. You’re Not Feeling Great

When work is too much, you may catch yourself starting to look forward to the weekends. You have the feeling you’re only living for the weekends and the weekdays are just for work. 

It is a clear sign that work is too much. 

What To Do About It?

When you’re present in the moment, your mind is less likely to go in all kinds of directions that you don’t want to think about at that moment. 

Something that helped me manage stress is to stop drinking caffeine and have a morning ritual. In the morning, I meditate, which helps to be present in the moment and quiet your mind. I also say my affirmations, which helps increase my money mindset.


It’s great to devote yourself to your career and make the most of it. Be careful that you don’t spread yourself too thin. The moment you experience work is too much, do something about it. 

Have you experienced your work as stressing you out? How much work do you think is too much?

This article originally appeared on Radical FIRE and has been republished with permission.