10 Giveaway Signs That You Work Too Much

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you’re stubbornly refusing to go to bed as long as yesterday’s campaigns still need fixing. Your eyes are sore, your back is creaking and your balls are mash potatoed from the chronic strain. Does this sound like last night to you? Even worse, does this sound like EVERY night?

I believe I could write an encyclopedia on how to live the most unhealthy life imaginable while working from home. It’d be pretty fucking girthy too, because I’ve learnt every trick in the book.

This is not my attempt to claim a medal or the dubious honour of “Guaranteed to be Dead Before You”, but rather a wake-up call for any other affiliates who are putting themselves under an unhealthy amount of strain. It’s something that applies to everybody, whether you’re making money or not.

Blistering tension headaches – Last year, I went to get laser eye surgery only to find that my eye pressure had soared to such a level that some crazy popping shit would have probably gone down if they’d operated on me. Okay, they weren’t ready to explode, but I was on the receiving end of some blistering tension headaches. You remember the high school advice about taking a fifteen minute break every hour? We are the square eyed gremlins that should actually be listening.

I’ve managed to get rid of my constant headaches. Which is a relief because they can be quite debilitating for anybody who works in front of a screen. Drink lots of water, maintain good posture and take regular breaks. A good backlighting helps too.

Days become one – Is your 2011 Christmas calendar marked with “same shit, different day” from January to December? Right from a young age, we’re given structure in our lives through the regularity of school on Monday to Friday. Most people then find themselves in day jobs that follow the same pattern. For those who wake up one day realizing they don’t have to go to work anymore, days tend to merge together and it can be very easy to grow tired through the absence of a healthy fixed schedule.

It’s not a sin to take the weekend off. But if you have no recollection of what day it is, or the date, or even the time, you probably need to introduce greater structure to your day. One thing I’ve noticed is that I budget to spend whatever time I have on the same tasks I’ve set. Give myself too much time and I’ll simply work twice as slow. So by giving yourself two days off, you can force greater productivity out of the remaining work days.

Checking your phone constantly – How often do you find yourself having your ear chewed off in a really boring pub conversation, quietly wishing the bastard across the table would just drink up so his bladder bursts and you can check your Gmail? Just because technology is at your fingertips 24/7, that doesn’t mean you’re constantly on the job.

I haven’t used a mobile phone in over 7 months since I moved to Thailand. That’s partly down to a desire to be disconnected from distracting pocket vibrations, and partly because my instruction manual is in Thai. Either way, your emails aren’t going to disappear. And you don’t want to end up acting like this.

Volatile mood swings – Does your mood correlate with your stats? Are you a whimsical little treasure on good days and a WickedFire poster on bad days? Most full time affiliates are passionate about their jobs to such an extent that the pride and engrossment of running their business can cloud all sense of judgment. So if you have a bad day and your ROI plummets, it can be very tempting to let the stats control your mood.

Part of overcoming volatile mood swings is your ability to recognize that the good days are closely intertwined with the bad days. None of us are enjoying profitable campaigns without a rich memory of the nights spent bashing our heads at a brick wall. You have to embrace that this is the way it goes. You chose not to have the security of a guaranteed salary. In return, you have the freedom to excel and earn as much as you deserve.

Fleeting bouts of insomnia – When you’re eating pizza for breakfast, you know you’ve got problems. I prefer to do much of my work at night, but I still get a lot of sleep. So much so that my maid is probably convinced I’m a vampire by now.

It’s a simple fact that the brain cannot and will not function at it’s optimal level if you’re not getting enough sleep. If you work through the night, take a two hour nap, then get up and go again – you’re going to hit a wall sooner rather than later. It might not come directly in the form of passing out at your desk, but the body will find it’s way to hate on you. Lack of sleep also ties in very closely to volatile mood swings.

Sore back, neck, shoulders and abdomen – How is your posture? Most of us spend unhealthy numbers of hours sat at our desks, and this will wear the body down if your posture is all wrong. For me, the most important things to remember are to keep my back straight to avoid stomach and abdomen cramps. And also to have the correct line of vision with my monitor.

Those of you with multi-screens are much more likely to suffer from eye strains and pounding headaches because the eyes have to work that much harder. You should be eye-level with the top of your screen. If you’re constantly craning your neck and switching to new screens, it’s going to increase the tension. Ryan Eagle probably has the headaches of a squashed badger with his 17 screen setup.

Social butterfly to Friday Night Hermit – A side effect of days becoming one, it can be very easy to lose grip on your social life if it becomes the afterthought of running a business. I’ve mentioned in many posts how I used to be much more social before I took on the responsibility of earning my own wages.

Back in my day job, Friday felt like Friday should. You’ll often see that entrepreneurs and affiliates find it very difficult to capture that same Friday feeling when in their minds, they’d love to have one extra day to get done everything they’d sat down and planned on the previous Sunday night. Either way, you can’t afford to become a hermit. There’s no point in earning a fortune if you can’t muster the freedom to actually enjoy it.

Shortened attention span – One of the primary reasons why I have become a total sucker for white noise and binaural beats. Ever since high school, my attention span has been nothing short of a pain in the arse. I’ve often been left wondering how so many great ideas could slip through my fingertips, only to be distracted by the next. It’s a painful cycle and I can’t stress highly enough how focus and concentration are kingpins to any entrepreneur’s chances of success.

The good news for me is that binaural beats and white noise have done wonders for my focus. It all depends on the individual, but I recommend them highly if you suffer from a lack of clarity in what you’re trying to achieve when you sit down at your desk.

Failure to recognise your successes – This can be devastating, truly devastating, to your mood. If you can’t recognise a success – no matter how tiny it is – you will never be successful. Success isn’t born out of the look of envy in other people’s eyes at Affiliate Summit. It comes from within. You have to be able to acknowledge your own triumphs as often as you kick yourself in the balls and resent those inevitable failed campaigns.

Similarly to appreciating success, you need to be able to say “Enough is enough” on those rare days where you cross off all your tasks and still feel you could do a little more. In the end, you’ll work yourself to the brink. Giving up against your will becomes the only option. Why spoil a good day? Reward yourself when you achieve your goals!

God awful dieting – Hold hands, I have a confession to make. I am currently cleansing my system with raw food. This probably sounds, to my typical readership, like a genuine pussy move. But listen, there’s only so many Jumbo Sausage Rolls one man can handle before he starts to feel like the casting director of Biggest Loser is stalking him in the streets. While I have no interest in becoming a vegetarian, I do see clearly how a bad diet can leave me feeling half-baked.

After bitching about my pain last night on Twitter, dearest Barman of ppc.bz offered this cookie of advice:

“hit the gym to build some muscle you lazy git”

I usually only trust Barman’s judgment where weed porn and cutting-edge Billy Mays gifs are concerned, but in this case, he has a point. Exercise and dieting are fundamental cornerstones for not feeling like a lazy slob. My excuse for eating poorly has always been that I don’t have time to cook. And it’s not so much the cooking, but more the subsequent fire that keeps me occupied. But this is just another symptom of working too hard. Any excuse to avoid the alternative.

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About the author

Finch
Finch

A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.

14 Comments

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  • props on the raw food…that shit will make you feel amazing after a week or two. checking out the binaural beats thing now.

  • Awesome post, man.

    Check out the Four Hour Body (Tim Ferriss’s most recent work, author of the 4 Hour Work Week, naturally) – he outlines a diet in there that is ridiculously easy to follow, tastes great and is pretty damn healthy. Me and my girlfriend switched to his slow carb diet about a month ago, and on top of the obvious benefits like losing weight and not feeling like I’ll die if I decide to go for a run in the morning, it’s also helped a lot with my concentration and mood. Not to mention the decrease in random pains in organs that shouldn’t regularly hurt.

    Diet and exercise has a much larger impact on you than most people, myself included, realize. Just a simple change in diet to something more nutritious can elevate your mood, help with focus and just make you feel good about yourself.

  • Great post.
    Working in a boiler room I can also stress the value of having a stable mood despite sometimes poor results. When I’m on the phone pitchin my product its really easy to get on a roll when you get a few sales on the board and after that they’d flow in easier than slacking off.
    On the flip side you’d have off days too where the fish just weren’t biting. Its easy to feel down, but you don’t know that the next person on the phone won’t be an asswipe.
    Its so important to keep your chin up and focus making the most of every opportunity even when your performance isn’t where you’d like it to be. Focusing on your long term goals is vital when your measure of success is so DIRECTLY tied to your performance.

  • I feel like our whole generation is doomed to have eye problems with all the time we spend in front of brightly lit screens.

    I went full time last year and now after several months I find myself with a lot of the habits you mentioned. The worst has been dealing with a complete lack of schedule and the blurring of my days.

    For me the best thing I ever did was after moving to a new city I started a new schedule and regiment.

    Wake up at a semi-decent hour like 9-10, cook a good breakfast. (fried eggs and bacon may not be super healthy but hey better than my old coffee and a cigarette then go out to eat for lunch.) and I’ve started working out as many days per week as possible.

    I usually make my workout a part of my mid day break go to the gym for an hour then eat lunch and get back at it. It’s got me feeling better, gets me out of the house, and I can at least feel like I did something other than sit in front of a screen all day.

  • Wow. This makes me realize I am beyond workaholism. The only bullet point that you listed that doesn’t apply is “God awful dieting” but only because I used to be heavy and now am a health nut. I need to go to Fiji. For like ever.

  • How about gout? Kidney stones? Heart attack? Stroke? Yeah, watch what you eat, don’t overwork, do some great stress relief, get some sleep, and workout……if you can.

    In my case? Kidney stones. Eck.

  • Not pussy at all on the raw foods. http://www.rawist.com The way I see it, natural health is a way to get an edge. For me, it was in athletics first, now in AM and startups. If it makes you sharper and faster then it can help you win.

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