How to Know You’re Working Too Much

June 11, 2016, 5:00 PM UTC
Businessman standing at conference room table at night
Photograph by Chris Ryan — OJO Images via Getty Images

The Fortune 500 Insiders Network is an online community where top executives from the Fortune 500 share ideas and offer leadership advice with Fortune’s global audience. Dean Aloise, global HR consulting leader at Xerox, has answered the question: How do you make time for yourself with a hectic schedule?

Are you setting aside your personal wellbeing to meet a deadline or answer an extra email? Are you spending more time at work because you’re aiming for a promotion, or recently took on more responsibility? To paraphrase a quote from John Wooden, the best basketball coach of all time, activity doesn’t always equal accomplishment. I find that is especially true at work, where overworking yourself in an effort to become more productive often backfires.

When you lack work-life balance, your performance at work slips. So no matter how hectic your schedule is, you must find dedicated time for yourself, which in turn will benefit your family and career. I have three rules that help me manage my goals, set appropriate expectations at work, allow me to be an involved husband and father, and keep up with my personal health. Here’s how you can follow suit:

  1. Spend time with your family and loved ones

It’s important to put your family first, not your job. Yes, you may have to deal with long hours at the office every once in a while, but you need to also spend quality time with the people who are most important in your world. These individuals are often willing to help you manage the many obligations of life when you can’t. But you should return the favor. Think of it as a savings account. You get more out than what you put in, and if you’re constantly focusing on yourself, you might fail to get the support you need to maintain a working equilibrium.

See also: It’s Time to Stop Trying to Do it All

  1. Prioritize your health and stay fit

I’ve been doing CrossFit daily for nearly three years, and I’m in far better shape than I was in my early 20s. I firmly believe the way I physically feel dictates how I operate the rest of my day. Setting aside time to exercise can boost your productivity at work and at home, as you’re awarding yourself more energy to give it your all and increase your output. It also helps you handle the stress of dealing with a hectic schedule, and provides a completely different environment to escape from the business grind. It’s also a great way to be a positive role model for the people who look up to you, including your children.


  1. Stick with a schedule

There’s a stigma in business that the bigger the promotion, the more dedication to the office is needed. That mentality is hurting executives both physically and emotionally, and it shouldn’t be that way. Regardless of how many rungs up the ladder you’ve completed or how many promotions you’ve earned, you shouldn’t alter the number of hours you dedicate to your job. Yes, your responsibilities will change, but if you refocus your priorities and outsource when necessary, you can still maintain a healthy balance in everything else you do.

It’s important to decide what level of commitment you can give to your job and then stick with it. But if your current commitment doesn’t include time for yourself and the things you love to do, make a change. And watch both your personal and professional lives reap the rewards.