Overworked at the Office
It may seem strange that simply sitting at a desk for eight hours could zap your physical energy, but it's true, especially when you consider that today's workers are logging more hours on the job than ever before. In 2004, a study found that one in three employees in the United States is chronically overworked [source: Harvard]. In addition to the time spent in the office formatting presentations, meeting with clients and writing reports, there's also the time spent commuting and the private time spent obsessively checking BlackBerry devices.
When your inbox never seems to empty and you have more fire drills in the course of a day than you can handle, then you're in a constant state of stress. Stress sets off a person's fight-or-flight response -- there's a rush of hormones, an increase in blood flow and a bump in heart rate as your body prepares for a struggle. While these reactions saved our ancestors' lives when they had to run away from a bear, the process simply zaps energy in the face of a bullying boss you can't escape. When your body never gets a chance to slow down, you'll be wiped out by lunchtime.
When your job spills over into non-working hours, the things that could recharge your energy battery suffer as well. You get less sleep and load up on caffeine and are puzzled as to why you feel so tired. You check e-mail on vacation then wonder why the trip wasn't restful. While the other side of the spectrum -- unemployment -- would be no better at staving off constant stress, it's important to seek a better work-life balance. So put down the PDA and learn what else might zap your energy.