Why Overtime Is Bad for Your Health—and How to Avoid It
How often do you stay late at work? Do you come in early most days to avoid it but always end up leaving later than clock-off time anyway? Well we're here to tell you there will never be enough hours in the day, there will always be more work to do, and the more you work overtime, the unhealthier you will become, both mentally and physically. Regularly working 10- or 11-hour days actually increases the risk of heart disease by 60%. But despite these alarming figures, a recent report found that the average "40-hour week" is actually longer by seven hours, which means we are working an entire extra day every week. In the same study, nearly four in 10 Americans say they work at least 50 hours. Joe Staples of Workfront told Forbes that salaried workers are hit the hardest, with "25% logging 60 hours per week, which equals working 12-hour days from Monday to Friday." This has to stop. If Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg can leave the office on time, then so can you. Scroll down to discover a few tips to avoid overtime.
Try not to focus on the amount of hours you put into the day, and write a list and prioritise so you can maximise those hours to get the job(s) done. Be realistic with your to-do list too. Make sure you are fulfilling the job requirements and meeting the deadlines for that day. Then let your team know what you've achieved so they know you're on task too.
Establish a strong relationship with your boss or team leader and set up a meeting to discuss your strengths and weaknesses. From here, you can set realistic targets together. The key to making this work is communication. Be sure to make your boss aware of how you're coping with the new workload set, and let him/her know if it's getting to be too much. Your boss won't have a productive employee if you're overworked and too tired. So it's important to both parties that you find the right balance.
With the advent of technology, there are more opportunities for employees to work remotely, with flexible working hours between home and the office now more commonplace. If you find you're logging too much time at work and it's becoming unhealthy, discuss working part of the week from home. As long as you are disciplined and still complete all your work, there shouldn't be a problem. In fact, Forbes reports flexibility can actually boost employee productivity. "Research shows that employees are healthier, experience less stress, and are more productive and engaged when they effectively make choices about how, where, and when they work," says Ellen Ernst Kossek, author and University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University.
If you're always the last one out the office door each night, then it might be time to have a productivity refresher course. There are plenty of simple yet effective hacks that can help you complete your tasks in a timely and efficient manner. If you're after a few tricks, then these 20 productivity hacks from our most successful and driven friends are sure to help.
This is critical to your daily performance. If you tend to make every new task a top priority, you'll find yourself scrambling to finish them all at the same time, and then wonder why you're working back late. Identify the tasks that need immediate attention or that have a set deadline. Then focus on the value; for example, client emails should come before internal. Try to write this down each morning and keep that set list beside you, crossing it off as you go.
It's so important to physically and mentally leave the office, and that means leaving your phone alone. We've all succumbed to that new email notification beep at 10 p.m., but you should wait until you're back in the office to respond. If you can't help yourself, then the iPhone's "Do Not Disturb" feature, or Android App, will be your new best friend. You simply set the time span, it could be from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., and all calls and alerts will be silenced during that period. If you are expecting an important call, then you can set it to allow calls from "Favourites" or repeated calls if they call more than once in a three-minute window.
We all tend to stay a little late most days, but it's toxic if that extends beyond an hour every day. So to prevent this from happening, don't lose track of the time. Sometimes we are so zoned in on what we're doing that we forget about the clock. Just set up a simple reminder alarm on your Google calendar, maybe about 30 minutes after your normal clock-off time. It's amazing how this little notification can keep you on task and more aware. It will also give you that subtle push you need to finish what you're doing and log off.
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What are your tips for getting out of the office on time? Share it with us in the comments.