Are you one of those people who just can’t seem to stop working? Do you look down at your watch and realize it’s 3:30am, even though you only meant to check email for a second? Do you work all day, go home, then jump right back on your laptop because the workday isn’t “done” until you’ve checked every box on your to-do list?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to take a hard look at your relationship with work. Most people feel like they have too much on their plate—that they aren’t able to get everything done before they clock out. But some people have an unhealthy relationship with work, meaning they don’t know how or when to stop working.
So why do some of us struggle with spending too much time at work?…We love progress- God does too! But only in balance.
At work, we check boxes, finish projects, earn a bonus, hit quotas.
At home however, the gratification is never instant. We’re sewing seeds with our kids and spouse that will bear fruit years, sometimes decades, after we’ve sewn them. There are no incentive bonuses or promotions. It can feel unproductive.
Of course, it’s not.
It’s choosing to focus on the things that matter most, even if the world doesn’t see it that way.
Here are some signs that you might be spending too much time at the office:
1) Chronically absent from important events- Did you miss the championship game for your son’s baseball team? Or your daughter’s choir concert? Or you forgot your anniversary…again?
Being absent from the big moments in the lives of your family members is a pretty clear indicator you’re spending too much time at work. Always remember: these are the moments you can’t get back. Your child will soon be a young adult who will almost never want you around (harsh but true!). Savor the fact that your kids still want you around and enjoy every moment you have with them.
2) Your family is constantly complaining that you’re never home-
Did your spouse snap at you because you bought the wrong brand of paper towels? Or maybe they’re mad because you didn’t say ‘please’ when you asked them to pass the ketchup.
If your family seems extremely irritable, it may be caused by the fact that what you’re asking of them is unfair and unkind. Expecting them to carry the weight of your chronic absence puts them in a very difficult and often lonely position.
And for a while, they may seem ok with it….because they want to be a good spouse, a good son or daughter. But as the years pass, the insensitivity of your behavior will start to wear them down.
3) Your health is suffering because of stress caused by overwork
In an article for The Atlantic, Gillian B. White writes, “health problems stemming from job stress, like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and decreased mental health, can lead to fatal conditions that wind up killing about 120,000 people each year—making work-related stressors and the maladies they cause, more deadly than diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or influenza.” (The Atlantic, February 12, 2015)
If your job is affecting your health negatively, it’s time to reassess. Be honest with yourself and evaluate your health and how your work-life is affecting it. Don’t ever sacrifice your health on the altar of your job.