The Pitfalls of Taking on Too Much at Work


Many of us are guilty of working excessive hours at the office. In doing so, we neglect our physical and mental wellbeing by taking on too much work and staying busy all the time.

There’s a common saying that you can “never do too much” for your company. And believe it or not, people actively live by that and compete to do more and more!

In this article, we’ll look at what happens when a person tries taking on too much at once. The outcome: it’s not good for your mental and physical health – and significantly undermines your time management skills and quality of work.

What is a heavy workload?

Taking on too much starts with a heavier workload. This means that there’s a gap between what you can manage and what must be done. A heavy workload can mean missed deadlines, lack of productivity and poor time management.

Self-awareness is the first step to establishing a better work balance. Also, if your health has been affected by your work, that’s an immediate red flag of a heavy workload and that you’re taking on too much work.


Get better at managing your time

The effects of taking on too much at work

A study by the International Labor Organization suggests that working more than 55 hours a week can harm your health.

Too much work can make you feel drained, uninspired and demotivated. It also leads to work becoming more and more difficult as you frantically try to “catch up”.

Check out these telltale signs of excessive exhaustion beyond working extra hours.

Not getting enough sleep

Being exhausted because of taking on too much can have serious physical implications. Poor sleep is generally characterized by a feeling of sluggishness, insomnia and lack of concentration at work.

Some people also suffer with other symptoms like heartburn, palpitations, headaches and more.

Not being able to have consistent sleep is a real concern, especially if it’s caused by excessive work. If you’re tossing and turning thinking about work, worrying about tomorrow’s deadlines and stressing about projects and plans – your sleep will suffer. Which means your health suffers.

If you can relate to this,  you may want to reflect on your solutions. Look for natural insomnia remedies. Here are 6 strategies to beat insomnia.

You can rest more by practicing proper sleep hygiene and being active and focused during the day.

Lack of physical activity

One of the first things many people give up when they are taking on too much is exercising. It’s understandable not to have the energy to go to the gym or for a run after an exhausting day. You’re tired and don’t want to push yourself, yet exercise has many advantages. It’s important to start working out to keep your mind and body healthy. Remember, as you age, it’s crucial to keep your bones and muscles strong to prevent conditions like arthritis or fractures. Diabetes, heart disease and obesity are all more likely to affect poor sleepers as well.

Skipping meals

It’s normal to become preoccupied with a task, work too much and neglect to eat during the day. Not eating enough and skipping meals can cause your blood sugar to drop, leaving you exhausted and more prone to overindulging on unhealthy foods. As a knock-on effect, your quality of work may suffer (another crucial indicator of fatigue).

Neglecting relationships

When last did you enjoy a leisurely lunch? Or spend time chatting with a co-worker over a coffee break In the long run, it’s damaging to forego essential social time with friends and family. These pleasurable moments in life help boost your feel-good hormones and contributes positively to your health. Support from social interaction in life can minimize loneliness, improve your overall mood and even boost productivity and efficiency.

Excessive smoking/drinking

Many of us may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms when stressed. Abusing vices like cigarettes and alcohol is common – and damaging in the long-term. Although it temporarily makes you feel wonderful and gives you a momentary escape, substance abuse doesn’t boost your overall state of wellbeing and most importantly – it’s not a lifelong solution to stress.

Abusing alcohol or drugs can reduce your productivity. Additionally, it makes it difficult to focus on crucial tasks and might result in workplace mishaps.

Taking on too much affects all your work

Work less for higher productivity. It sounds weird, but think about it. How much does multitasking or jumping frantically from task to task help you? Rather, focus on one project at a time and get it done. Taking on too much can quickly lead to missed deadlines, fatigue and eventual burnout.

Not being able to deliver on a commitment is one of the worst outcomes of being unable to manage extra work stuff. TimeTrack software’s project tracking and management feature is easy to use. It helps plan activities, operations and budgets and tracks the progress of projects in real time.


Time management with TimeTrack

High stress levels

Stress is not always necessarily a “bad” thing. Stressful episodes from the odd occasional bit of extra work has a low risk. Stress becomes a problem when it’s unchecked, consistent and unmanaged.

This speeds up the rate at which biological systems break down. As the work piles on, so does the stress. You can’t concentrate, eat or sleep, or conversely, eat too much and spend hours in front of the laptop trying to get things done.

Effect on your professional development

An otherwise successful career can suffer from work overload. Counterintuitive right? At first, employees who work non-stop at a fast pace are praised for what they achieve, but after a while, that becomes the standard, at the expense of other important things. Failure to perform can impact your performance ratings, merit pay and promotions.

Avoid taking on too much at work

Start by learning to say no to projects or tasks that are far out of your wheelhouse or that may impact your current deadlines.

  1. Set healthy boundaries

    Establish work-related expectations and reasonable, realistic boundaries. Choose a task that must be completed within a specific time limit. Regardless of where you are, put it down or leave at that point if it’s past your work time.

  2. Say no (nicely)

    There is a difference between pushing staff to hustle and expecting the unattainable. Accepting work you know you won’t be able to fulfil is a poor way to represent yourself. Complete fewer tasks that produce more value than taking on many that produce little or no value. Always remember that 80% of output will come from 20% of input. Focus your energy in a meaningful place.

    If adding more will undermine producing high-quality work, there is no need to do so. Stop taking on more work and decline politely.

  3. Think through the project

    Once you understand the full workload for a project, start looking for usual patterns of repetition. Be aware that the same thing will occur as the patterns become more obvious as more projects get off the ground.

  4. Review your calendar

    Talking doesn’t always do the trick. Take action by sharing your calendar with your team to let them know when you are available, which deadlines you’re focusing on and what takes priority for that phase.

  5. Adjust your commitments

    Struggling to stay accountable to a healthy sleeping and/or eating routine? Ask for help! Get a friend to be your accountability buddy or ask your partner for help in ensuring you switch off at a certain time to go to sleep. Set up a daily event like, “Family dinner at 6pm” and leave work on time.

Improve your time management skills

  • Create a daily schedule

    This is a mandatory need for effective time management in the workplace. Don’t even consider starting a busy day without a well-organized task to-do list. Make a list of the top priorities for the following day before leaving work each day.

  • Group together similar tasks

    Save time and mental energy by trying to do one type of anything before moving on to the next. For example, set aside time to answer emails and make phone calls. Don’t answer mails and texts as soon as they come in. This is the perfect recipe for wasting time.

  • Set time limits for tasks

    Schedule projects with due dates and times rather than working on them until they’re done. We all love making to-do lists, but it can be frustrating to never be able to get past them. Stop taking on new initiatives with unreasonable timelines. Sometimes it’s better to be a realist than an optimist.

  • Get organized

    Finding that one important piece of paper in a sea of clutter is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Spending hours uselessly searching for lost items is one of life’s biggest stressors. Plus, it’s hard to be aware of what’s happening and concentrate in a cluttered environment. Make an effort to stay organized and on top of everything. This includes keeping your emails and online documents in order.

  • Avoid multitasking

    A study found that only 2% of adults are proficient multitaskers. Instead of trying to multitask three things at once, focus on one thing at a time and be fully engaged to take it all in. Time constraints can help make them more efficient. In other words, setting a deadline for each activity improves the odds of you finishing it on time.


Time tracking software helps drive more healthy productivity from employees and rebalances work in a much more efficient way. With TimeTrack, it’s possible to track staff productivity and time spent at work. User rights provide duty delegation and time savings.

A scheduling duty roster enables businesses to get real-time attendance data on a Smartphone or computer.


Track employees duties and time management with TimeTrack

Using TimeTrack is a great first step in reaching personal and business goals, such as raising productivity.