Careers

Are you working too hard? Here are the warning signs


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Feeling anxious and irritable? Forgetting appointments or having trouble concentrating? Feeling aches and pains, experiencing minor illnesses, and having trouble sleeping?

All are signs you are too busy, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

A person’s ability to handle multiple tasks is affected by his or her personality, the story says. Altruistic people who find meaning in their activities can do more without harmful effects. But neurotic people, who have more anxiety and anger, tend to have more difficulty managing multiple tasks, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior.

The article tells how nonprofit executive Michael Mawdsley realized he was working too hard. He was working 80-hour weeks in hopes of showing he was the hardest worker at the office. “I liked my boss to know that I sent him the earliest email of the day, as well as the latest email of the day,” he tells the Wall Street Journal.

But Mawdsley had insomnia and an upset stomach, and he was showing impatience with employees. When Mawdsley’s boss warned him that his job was at risk because his people skills were lacking, he realized he needed to change.

Mawdsley delegated more work, took more time to listen to employees, trimmed his work hours, and spent more time with his wife and children. Now, when he experiences warning signs such as shallow breathing or tension in his shoulders, he allots more time for sleep and recreation. His boss has promoted him twice.

Hat tip to Pat’s Papers.

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