Even prior to commencing my career, during my undergraduate degree, I often came across fellow students complaining about the amount of tasks they ought to complete and materials to study. On the other side, I never complained simply because it was logical to me to have a lot of duties – that is why we are going to university after all, to learn materials and how to manage our time. However I quickly started getting accused of being privileged because I am going to a private university where apparently, I being less challenged and not given as much material to study. This was hurtful because I was working very hard indeed. That was my first encounter with the “trend of being busy”.

I hear of a lot of similar situations occurring in a working environment. Those who are working hard, but are silent about it are being accused of working less. Simply because someone doesn’t appear busy (or complain) does not mean that they actually have less to do. This is often causing tensions and impacting relations in a corporate environment.

The mention issue is happening across different levels, working environments and even in the educational system. Why is this so? Why are people who leave the office sharp at 5 given the judgmental looks? This is certainly negatively impacting our health, happiness and is a sure path which leads to burnout, and no, burnout should not be sexy or fancy. Here are a few steps which we can take to stop or prevent further growth of this already dangerous trend:

1. Objectively evaluate your workload

Prior to complaining to the whole world, try to estimate whether your workload is truly terrible or are you not organized well, too slow or maybe your expectations of work are not realistic enough? If you are in fact overloaded, try taking actions which can truly change that. I would suggest speaking to your boss or manager with objective statistics, seeking professional or psychological support or simply working on prioritizing and doing to-do lists. If none of this helps, perhaps you are not in the right company, field or position. Maybe that is a simple sign that it is time for a change (for the better).

2. Work is about work

It is funny how many people in the workforce still expect to work, but not really work. If you are complaining of your workload just because you don’t have enough time to chit-chat in the coffee room, make all your holiday reservations or catch up with the colleague next to you – then think twice. These kinds of things are great when you have extra time, but during work hours, work is a priority.

3. Complaining? Bite your lip!

Now please don’t get me wrong. If you really have a concern or a problem, do speak up. However, many of us do have a tendency to complain and get the stress of our shoulders by sharing it around. However, please keep in mind that our words, tone and posture vastly impact our emotions and wellbeing. So, if you are complaining without an actual, objective and serious issue you are only making yourself, your body and the people around you more drained and filled with negative energy.

4. Work smarter, not harder!

Last, but certainly not the least is concentration and efficiency during work. If I can complete my task in 3 hours, while someone else might take 6 hours to do so, why should I pretend to do more as well? I should be awarded for being more efficient, not punish myself with working longer hours, just to leave an impression of hard worker.

5. Develop and implement new strategies – for your own good

If you manage to catch yourself when bragging about your busy schedule, try to hold that though and instead, let it go through novel strategies. Writing your emotions and thoughts in a journal nearby, breathing deeply, having a glass of warm water or even taking a short walk around the office might be only some of the ways that will certainly be a whole lot more beneficial for you and your wellbeing than complaining and moaning about your workload and stress.

Hopefully, implementation of the advice mentioned above might help increase our awareness of how we are unconsciously spreading the stress and judgment of those who may be less busy. Let’s work hard, but allow ourselves to be, simply be human beings and not estimate our values by the number of tasks we are given.