5 Risky Repercussions Of Working Too Hard

Being a business owner or entrepreneur, we all know too well the things we need to do to run our businesses. It is quite ironic that so many people get into business because they want the flexibility of working when they want to, however the reality is business owners tend to work more days and longer hours than when they worked for someone else.

Even after owning and running a business for over a decade now, this is still an area I struggle with. The desire to get things done for my business often overrules the things I know I should do instead. I recently had a painful reminder of this.

In my high school and university days, I used to play a lot of basketball and anyone who has played basketball for long periods of time know the effect that has on the knees. I always thought I would have problems with my knees later on in life however I never actually had my knees examined.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A few months ago, I started feeling some discomfort in one knee. As I wasn’t in severe pain, I thought the pain would go away if I applied some physiotherapy at home. Over a 4-6 week period, the pain gradually got more and more intense and reached the point where I could not even bend the knee without having to use my hands to lift my leg up. As it was affecting my mobility and caused me a lot of discomfort when driving my car, I decided to have my knee checked out.

I booked myself in for an x-ray and to my utter surprise, the x-rays showed that there was no damage at all to my knee. Even after so many years of playing basketball, my knee was in pretty good shape. That made me realise that the cause of the pain in my knee was an emotional issue. It wasn’t difficult to work out that it was stressed-induced because over the previous few months, I had been working long hours, consistently working 12-13 hours per day and up to 80 hours per week.

Once I was able to identify the emotion related to knee pain, I went through a process to release the emotion and stress, and almost miraculously, the pain virtually disappeared overnight. The effect of working too hard had manifested as physical pain in my body and that forced me to do something about my working habits.

There are many consequences for working too hard and if we’re not careful, it can cause us some serious issues. Here are five repercussions to be aware of if you’re someone who works too hard. These reminders will hopefully encourage you to make the necessary adjustments you know you should make.

  1. Your health will suffer. It is quite common for health-related issues to surface when we are under a lot of stress or putting ourselves under a lot of pressure. The cost of a failing health is immeasurable and it will affect all other areas of our life. Nothing is more important than our health and it is very difficult to make up for lost time because of our failing health.
  2. You will jeopardise your relationships. Following on from our health suffering, it can also result in additional stress on our personal relationships. One of the biggest reasons for relationship breakdowns is due to health-related issues. It will also affect our professional relationships as our colleagues, team members or employees will be impacted if we’re constantly under stress.
  3. The amount you get done will be less. It’s one thing to be busy and seemingly doing a lot of things, however that does not necessarily mean we are being effective or productive. Working longer hours doesn’t always result in us doing our best work or getting things completed. We tend to be more productive when we are relaxed and constantly working does not create the space for us to relax our mind in order to be more productive.
  4. Your level of integrity will be questioned. One of the most valuable things we have is our integrity, which simply means whether we are acting according to what we say and believe. If we’re unable to keep our word or follow through on our commitments, pretty soon our reputation and the level of trust others have in us, will erode. Once we lose our integrity, it is very hard to get it back again. When we’re overworked, it is easy to miss things or make mistakes.
  5. Your decision-making ability will be affected. We don’t tend to make wise decisions when we are tired, stressed or over-worked. When we are constantly working and not giving our mind a break, not only will it affect our ability to be creative and solve problems, it will reduce our ability to make informed or wise decisions.

We get 168 hours per week and if sleep eight hours per night, that leaves us 112 waking hours per week. If we’re working more than 60 hours per week, then that’s over 50% of the time available to us that we spend working. That is not a sustainable behaviour over the long-term and it can cost you big time.

Instead we need to be sensible about how much we work and ensure we give attention to all areas of our life. There will be times when we will need to work additional hours to get projects done however they should be the exception, not the norm. Evaluate how much you’re working now and make the necessary adjustments you know you should make.

Question: What else have you found to be a consequence of working too hard?

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  • Jane Ransom

    Great reminder, Neel! The story about your knees is powerful proof.

    • Neel Raman

      Thank you Jane for your comment! It would have been a lot easier to learn the lesson with the knee problems. 🙂