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Infographic: The Effects of Working Too Much

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In the early days at a new job or in your career, it is common to work a little extra hard to make a good impression. Unfortunately, if you try to keep this up long-term you'll unintentionally set a precedence; one which no one can sustain, no matter how hard they may try. 

As the author, Kate Northrup wrote, “Somewhere along the way we've gotten the message that the more we struggle and the more we suffer, the more valuable we will become and the more successful we'll eventually be. And so we overwork ourselves, overschedule ourselves, and become "busier than thou" because we think there's some sort of prize on the other side of the pain we cause ourselves. And you know what? There's no prize. All you get from suffering is more suffering.”

In this infographic, you will find the personal and professional effects of working too much and the eye-opening statistics around overworking, all of which are featured and discussed in more depth in our guide, Work Smarter, Not Harder: 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Work Day.

The Effects of Working Too Much Infographic


The Effects of Working Too Much

We joke about it when things get rough. We brush it off as "this is just the way it is" and tell each other "we'll make it through". We drink a few too many cups of coffee and set out to do the best work we can. While our intentions may be good, the fact is, the effects of working too much can be felt both personally and professionally.


9 Consequences of Overworking

  1. Greater Risk of a Heart Attack
  2. Increased Risky Alcohol Use
  3. Increased Insomnia
  4. Increased Fast Food Consumption
  5. Decreased Mental Health
  6. Increased Risk of Depression
  7. Negative Impacts on Personal Relationships
  8. Greater Risk of Costly Mistakes
  9. Increased Chance of Quitting

Greater Risk of a Heart Attack

Those working more than 55 hours per week have a 13% greater risk of a heart attack and 33% greater risk of a stroke, compared with those who worked 35-40 hours per week. - Harvard Health


Increased Risky Alcohol Use

If you work more than 48 hours/week, you're more likely to engage in increased risky alcohol use (more than 14 drinks/week for women and more than 21 drinks/week for men). - New Scientist


Increased Insomnia

75.9% of overwhelmed people reported much higher insomnia troubles; unfortunately, only 1-3% of the population can sleep 5-6 hours a night without suffering some performance drops off. - Plos & Harvard Business Review


Increased Fast Food Consumption

Burnout, which can be caused by working too much, is significantly associated with higher fast food consumption, infrequent exercise, and more frequent painkiller use. - National Libary of Medicine


Decreased Mental Health

Compared to workers who work less than 40 hours per week, the mental health scores among workers who work more than 55 hours per week worsens by up to 2.4 points. - Journal of Happiness Studies


Increased Risk of Depression

Employees who work long hours ( at least 60 per week) and have high job demands (defined as "usually" having too much work) are at higher risk of depression. - ScienceDaily


NegAtive Impacts on Personal Relationships

76% of employees say stress at work has a negative impact on their personal relationships. - Korn Ferry


Greater Risk of Costly Mistakes

Overwork causes diminishing returns; by reducing the amount you're working, you can increase output and decrease the chance of expensive mistakes or accidents. - Harvard Business Review


Increased Chance of Quitting

63% of workers are ready to quit their jobs as a result of workplace stress brought on by their boss, ineffective communication, a heavy workload, or unclear expectations. - The American Institute of Stress


Work Smarter, Not Harder: 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Day