UNITED STATES—Can you recall the last time that you had eight hours of sleep? Do you recall the last time that you went to work and didn’t feel exhausted before you entered the door? How about feeling like no matter how hard you work, you still have a ton of work that you still haven’t gotten completed? Yeah, we’ve all been down that route right? Of course we have and the notion of being overworked is all too common for most Americans and it’s unfortunate, and it’s not a good thing to say the least.

So I pose the question, how do we put ourselves in a position where we stop working and working and working? It is easier said than done, but there are ways to put perspective back in place. Don’t take on more than what you know you can mentally and physically tackle. I used to think physical labor was 10x worse than mental labor, but to be honest, both can debilitate the body. With physical you are actually drained, with mental the brain is burnt to the point where you worry nonstop about stuff.

I think it is all about delegation when it comes to mental work. What does that mean? You can only do so much, and trying to take on more than what you can do is important. I use to be very guilty of always helping others or willing to pick up the slack of someone else’s work. Not anymore. You have to be careful of being too much of a team player. Why? People take advantage of that so much to the point where you’re doing all their work, while they sit back, relax, do nothing, yet collect a paycheck. That is something that annoys me greatly and I don’t think it is funny in any fashion.

Laziness is perhaps my biggest pet peeve, and in the world of work you have to weed out those people who are part of the company who are not actually helping the company move up to the next level. As an employee you can’t directly make the decision, but you can get into the ear of management and inform them of what is happening. Some may see this as tattling, but don’t think of it that way, look at it from the perspective of if YOU WERE OPERATING THE BUSINESS! You would want whatever investments you are making to the company to be worthwhile.

Vacation time, it is the thing so many Americans are not actually using. This completely baffles me, but it is very true. We don’t take vacations, we don’t use time off, we are constantly working out of fear that if we miss work someone will swoop in and take our position. We should not be because we are entitled to time off when working. No company should expect its employees to work nonstop. Even if you’re that individual who wants to be working around the clock, it is not fair for you to do that nor should you have to do that. I tell people all the time that a vacation is the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate your battery and come refreshed. I mean a day or two off might be fine, but it is not enough. Why? Your body does not fully get the opportunity to recover or recharge the battery, and I think more employers should be aware of this.

You should want your employees to take vacations, encourage it, and more importantly plan ahead. You should never rely solely on one person to be your go-to person. You never know when something unexpected can happen where that person is out of commission to work or perhaps find a better job that suits them. You’re in a pickle, so preparation is crucial. Not to mention, you don’t want to stress out a good employee with such a heavy workload that they feel the pressure to produce all the time, even when something personal transpires in their life. When someone is overstressed they are more likely to make mistakes. Those mistakes could be quite costly to the company, and could leave the employee feeling more pressure than normal.

There is that saying that “You can sleep when you’re dead.” I used to believe that, but the older I get it does not resonate so much with me. Rest is crucial to everyone; the more you rest the quicker your body is able to recover.

Written By Kelsey Thomas