We’ve all heard the quotes. 

“Keep working hard and reap the benefits.” 

“There is no success without hard work.” 

“Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.”

Now, while all of these quotes come with their own merits, there is such a thing as working too much or working too hard. And, contrary to popular belief, it’s not always the result of being overly ambitious.

Sometimes, people overwork themselves to prove a point, either to their boss or their colleagues, or to their own family. Sometimes, they even try and prove a point to themselves. They try to prove that they too can be successful and make it in the business world, despite what others might think of them.

If you’ve been working non-stop for years now, without taking time off for a proper break or holiday, it’s time to ask yourself a simple question:  

Are you putting too much of your life into your career?

The best way to answer this question is to delve into your own behaviour at work and at home. For instance, have you shelved your well-being in order for you to put in more hours at the office? Have you noticed that instead of eating a well-balanced diet, you’re opting for more fast food just so that you don’t have to spend time cooking or preparing healthier options? Are you struggling to disconnect when you’re finally able to spend a few hours at home? Do you get an anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach when Friday afternoon arrives and you know you have to spend two whole days at home, before you can jump headfirst into the pile of paperwork on your desk again? Do you secretly take some of that pile home?

If any of the above sounds familiar to you, it’s time to stop. Just stop. 

As much as you value your path to success and your career itself, it can never take precedence over your own health, well-being and peace of mind. It cannot take the place of spending valuable time with your loved ones and your career tunnel vision will not take care of you when you inevitably fall ill from burnout.

Now is the time to set yourself straight.

The only way to get back to a healthy work-life balance is to put yourself and your family first for a change. This means taking your well-earned leave days and going on holiday and unplugging completely from all things work-related. It means filling your workdays with enough breaks, enough healthy food, and enough mindfulness to avoid unnecessary stress. Stick to your scheduled working hours and don’t give in to the urge to keep working overtime. When you’re at home and have a few hours to kill, why not start up a good exercise routine or find a hobby that brings you joy. 

Putting yourself first doesn’t mean being less productive. In fact, a lot of people report being more productive, but less stressed, once they’ve had some time to recharge their batteries. And once they’ve realised in what order their priorities should be.

Take your life back today and leave work where it’s supposed to be: at the office.

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