Do you often feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed by your workload? Do you struggle to balance your professional and personal life? If so, you might be feeling overworked within your role. 

When you’re feeling overworked, it can be difficult to know where to start in reclaiming your sanity. The constant pressure to meet deadlines, exceed expectations, and stay ahead of the curve can leave you feeling overwhelmed and burned out. Additionally, feeling overworked can have serious consequences for your physical and mental health, as well as your productivity and performance.

But with a few simple adjustments, you can find a better balance between work and life.

What does feeling overworked mean?

Feeling overworked is not the same as working hard or being busy. It is a subjective state of mind that occurs when you feel that your workload is too much for you to handle, or that your work demands are unreasonable or unrealistic. 

Feeling overworked can be caused by various factors, such as:

1. Lack of clear expectations or feedback.

This can make you feel confused, frustrated, or insecure about your work quality or performance. For example, you might not know what your manager expects from you, how they evaluate your work, or how you can improve your skills or results.

2. Poor communication or collaboration with your colleagues or team.

This can make you feel isolated, misunderstood, or unsupported in your work. For example, you might not have regular or effective communication, you might not receive or offer help or feedback, or you might have conflicts or misunderstandings.

3. High-pressure or high-stakes projects or tasks.

This can make you feel anxious, nervous, or fearful of making mistakes or failing. For example, you might have to work on a project that is critical for your organization or you might have to deal with a complex or sensitive issue that requires a high level of accuracy or discretion.

4. Tight deadlines or frequent changes in priorities.

This can make you feel rushed, stressed, or overwhelmed by the amount or pace of work. For example, you might have to complete a large or difficult task in a short time, or the project vision or expectations may frequently shift without your control.

5. Lack of autonomy or control over your work.

This can make you feel powerless, helpless, or trapped by your work situation or environment. For example, you might have little say or choice in your work assignments, methods, or goals, or you might have to work under strict or rigid rules or policies.

6. Lack of recognition or reward for your efforts.

This can make you feel unappreciated, undervalued, or ignored by your work organization or culture. For example, you might not receive any acknowledgment, praise, or incentive for your hard work, or you might feel that your work is not meaningful or valued.

7. Lack of support or resources to do your job well.

This can make you feel incompetent, inadequate, or unprepared for your work challenges or demands. For example, you might not have access to the tools, equipment, information, or training that you need to do your work effectively or efficiently, or you might not have any guidance, mentoring, or coaching.

8. Lack of boundaries or limits between your work and personal life.

This can make you feel guilty, conflicted, or resentful of your work interfering with your personal time or commitments. For example, you might have to work long hours, overtime, or weekends, or you might have to deal with work-related issues or requests outside of your work hours.

Impact on Wellbeing

Experiencing overwork can profoundly impact you across various levels, including physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially.

Physically, overwork can trigger heightened stress and anxiety, leading to increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline. This prolonged stress response may result in elevated blood pressure, weakened immune function, and heightened susceptibility to illnesses.

Emotionally, overwork often induces negative emotions like anger, sadness, or hopelessness. The constant pressure and workload can become overwhelming, leading to emotional exhaustion and burnout. Moreover, overwork can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Mentally, overwork can impair cognitive function, particularly in areas such as memory, attention, and decision-making. Sleep deprivation resulting from overwork can lead to cognitive deficits, including decreased focus, impaired memory consolidation, and reduced problem-solving abilities.

Socially, overwork strains personal relationships and limits time for social interactions. Overworked individuals may have less energy and availability to spend time with friends and family, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Communication breakdowns and conflicts may also arise as a result of neglecting personal relationships, further exacerbating stress and social isolation.

How can you overcome feeling overworked at work?

Feeling overworked can be challenging to cope with, but it is not inevitable or irreversible. You can take some proactive steps to manage your workload, reduce your stress, and improve your wellbeing. Such changes include:

1. Share your feelings with your boss

Don’t suffer in silence or pretend that everything is fine. Be honest and respectful about how you feel and what you need. This interaction can include asking for feedback, guidance, or support. Use this time to negotiate your expectations, priorities, or deadlines and seek clarity, alignment, or flexibility. Your boss might not be aware of your situation or might be able to help you find solutions.

2. Prioritize your work

Not everything on your to-do list is equally important or urgent. Use a tool like the Eisenhower matrix to categorize your tasks into four quadrants: do it, schedule it, delegate it, or delete it. Focus on the tasks that are both important and urgent and plan for the ones that are important but not urgent. Delegate or outsource the tasks that are urgent but not important and eliminate or minimize the ones that are neither important nor urgent.

3. Add in breaks

Working non-stop without taking breaks can be counterproductive and harmful. You need to recharge your energy, refresh your mind, and relax your body. Schedule regular breaks throughout your day and use them to do something that makes you happy, calm, or energized. You can also use the Pomodoro technique to work in short bursts of 25 minutes, followed by 5-minute breaks.

4. Set boundaries

Feeling overworked can often result from blurring the lines between your work and personal life. You need to establish and maintain clear boundaries that protect your time, space, and attention. This can be done by turning off your notifications, emails, or calls when you are not working, and communicating your availability to your boss, colleagues, or clients.

5. Take care of yourself

Feeling overworked can take a toll on your health, so you need to prioritize your self-care. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat well, exercise regularly, and stay hydrated. These habits can help boost your immune system, improve your mood, and enhance your performance. You can also practice some stress management techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or positive affirmations.

6. Celebrate your achievements

Feeling overworked can make you lose sight of your progress, purpose, or passion. It may not feel natural at first but it’s important to remind yourself of why you do what you do, how far you have come, and recognize and reward yourself for your accomplishments. You can also express gratitude for the opportunities, challenges, or learnings that your work provides and share your successes and challenges with your peers, coworkers, or mentors.

Feeling overworked is a common and serious problem that can affect your health, happiness, and performance. However, you can overcome it by taking some proactive and positive steps to manage your workload, reduce your stress, and improve your well-being. By following these seven tips, you can reclaim your sanity and enjoy your work more. 


Related News

Brandon Osgood is a strategic communications and digital marketing professional based out of Raleigh, NC. Beyond being a passionate storyteller, Brandon is an avid classical musician with dreams of one day playing at Carnegie Hall. Interested in connecting? Email him at