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How Overworking Negatively Impacts Your Life and Productivity

By | Time Management | No Comments

Have you ever wondered how overworking negatively impacts your life and productivity? Working hard is not an option for most Americans. It’s necessary if you want to put food on the table and accelerate your career. However, there is such a thing as working too hard.

We’re all guilty of it. Maybe a deadline is coming up fast or you just need to put in extra hours for the week. Every once and a while can easily turn into ever week and each weekend. Before you know it, a culture of overworking yourself has been established and can likely lead to repeated bouts of burnout. 

Overworking is a problem for both employees, employers, and entrepreneurs. Working too hard routinely over a long period of time can lead to serious illness or even death. Researchers have found that overworking routinely makes you become significantly less productive. If employees are overwhelmed by their workload they will be less efficient at work. If you’re self-employed like me, you may feel tempted to work all the time.

How Overworking Negatively Impacts Your Life

Overworking leaves you with almost no time to think about what is going on in the rest of your life. Working too hard regularly can negatively affect your health, relationships, happiness, and overall quality of life.

When you are working longer hours regularly, then there is a good chance that you are not eating healthy which can lead to poor health. Some employees are so focused on their work until it becomes too much for them that they cannot cope with the stress anymore. As a result, work becomes joyless and a negative addiction.

Overworked employees are also probably not getting much exercise and taking enough breaks which can cause long-term mental and physical health problems.

Working too hard over an extended period of time could eventually lead to all manner of health problems such as depression, high levels of stress, high blood pressure, infertility, migraine, diabetes, allergies, heavy drinking, and impaired memory.

Overworking Impairs Your Sleep

Long working hours in the office or at home impairs your sleep. It can make you feel overwhelmed and result in extremely high levels of stress. Working longer hours regularly leads to tiredness, stress and depression – all of which can negatively impact your sleep.

You are more likely to become sick due to sleep deprivation caused by overworking. Lack of sleep over an extended period of time can cause many health risks such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and impaired memory.

Overworking Often Leads to Mental and Physical Health Problems

Those who work longer hours all the time have a much higher risk of developing heart-related problems than those who do not work overtime. If you do not get enough time to recover between work sessions, your productivity will only continue to decline.

When you do not allow enough time for your mind and body, you are at increased risk of developing various mental and physical health problems.

Often, symptoms of mental and physical health problems caused by overworking are anxiety, anger/bad mood, depression, poor sleep, tension/migraine headaches, fatigue, lack of concentration, frustration and feeling stuck.

Those who work too hard have a much higher risk of heart-related problems than those who do not work too hard. There have been many cases of death as the consequences of working too hard. So do not let your work dominate your life.

Impacts of Overworking on Your Personal Life

Overworking means sacrificing your personal time to spend in the office, which means you are spending less time with your partner, children, family and friends. Your relationships with your family and friends need time to flourish. Most people I know say family is a priority to them. However, how they spend their time doesn’t demonstrate this. 

Sure, we all have to work, but when you’re overworking it means you may not get evenings or weekends off to spend time with loves ones. This also goes for having the ability to slow down and take a vacation with family.

Overall, working long hours means you will be getting less quality time to spend with people who matter to you.

How Overworking Negatively Impacts Your Productivity

Working long hours per week for a short time can be beneficial for your business, but if you or your employees continue to work too hard, i.e., work 50-70 hours per week for months after months, then productivity will only continue to decrease.

Overworking is bad for your business, as it negatively affects your productivity. Many studies have found a correlation between overworking and less productivity. It leads to decreased productivity.

Numerous studies show that our productivity is higher when we are working 40 hours a week than when we are working 50 to 60 hours or more during a week.

Therefore, it is important to reduce your working hours in the workweek to enhance your productivity and the overall quality of work.

How to Stop Overworking…Seriously

So we now that we know how overworking negatively impacts your life and productivity, it’s time to talk about how you can stop this addictive habit.

Increase Your Income and Lower Your Expenses

Overworking often means less sleep and more mistakes but people’s main motivation for working extra hours is more money. We all need money to cover certain expenses and save. To avoid overworking and all the negative effects that come with it, purpose to increase your income over time. You can do this either through raises and promotions or by getting a higher paying job. 

I know this sounds easier said than done, and it may take longer to increase your income. but it’s important to work at it. You may even be able to find something you can do on the side to earn more money with fewer hours. 

I also recommend factoring in your budget and seeing how you can lower expenses. If you could increase your monthly income by $500 per month and decrease your expenses by $500, that’s $1,000 that you can add back to your pocket every month. This can eliminate the desire to overwork yourself.

Get Clear on Your Goals

I feel like a broken record sometimes when I keep saying this, but it’s a crucial step. As someone who said yes to everything for many years, I can attest to the fact that it can drain your time, energy, and ability to be productive long-term. There have been many times where I’ve taken on extra projects just out of the habit of saying yes all the time. It turned out the projects were not something I was interested in or felt good at and I dreaded the work. 

To avoid making this same mistake, get clear on your goals and know where your expertise lies. If you know what type of work you prefer doing, stick with what you enjoy and are knowledgeable in. With a clear focus, you’ll know when to say yes and when to say no to certain projects or jobs. 

Get Help

Stop trying to do everything yourself. It’s impossible. This is why at most jobs, there are teams. Lean on your team for support and be realistic with your supervisor about what you can handle. 

If you’re self-employed, consider hiring a virtual assistant or someone who can take a time-consuming task off your plate. I know this will require some money, but it’s worth it if it allows you to be more productive and build your business. Don’t be afraid to invest in your business if you’re serious about growth. As an added bonus, you’ll avoid some of those effects that are directly tied to how overworking negatively impacts your health.

Summary: How Overworking Negatively Impacts Your Life and Productivity

Working too hard every now and then when it is necessary can be rewarding if you’re staying productive. But when you make a habit out of overworking, it is bad for your health and business. Overworking all the time leads to an unhealthy work-life balance which has severe, negative impacts on your life and productivity.

Focus on implementing these 3 steps to help you stop overworking so you can improve your work and your life all around.

How to Leave Work at Work

By | Business Tips | No Comments

As an entrepreneur, I’m always thinking about my business. Sometimes it’s just reflecting on what I’ve accomplished or the areas that need improvement. Usually, that’s not a problem. What is a dilemma, though, is allowing these thoughts to interfere with my personal life. One example would be — bringing stress home with me or not being 100 percent present with my downtime.

If you’re in the same situation, you’ve probably been told just simply to set boundaries. Setting boundaries sounds excellent on paper. But, in reality, that’s not always possible. The good news is that are effective ways to leave work at work.

Plan your ideal week.

Yankees legend Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” For me, that means planning in advance, like mapping out your week. The reason? It’s a simple way to prevent work and life from always being at odds with each other. More importantly, it provides structure so that you can establish boundaries while also remaining productive.

While everyone has their own way of planing out their ideal week, here are some pointers to steer in you in the right direction:

  • Get a head start. Use either Friday afternoons or the weekend to list your priorities and add them to your calendar.
  • Sketch out your ideal week by using time blocks. Take into consideration date-specific events and tasks, and know when you’re most productive.
  • Create theme days based on your energy. For example, if you have the most energy and focus on Tuesday, that’s when you should schedule deep work.
  • Establish fulfilling routines. These are the activities that help you relax and make you happy, such as meditating or family game night.
  • Limit your plans. Stop overcommitting yourself by focusing on your top five high-objectives for the week.
  • Be ruthless. Delegate or drop anything from your to-do-list that isn’t a priority. Get comfortable saying, “no.” And, learn how to block out distractions.

Have a ritual to transition from work to home.

To me, this is all about changing your mindset from “work” mode to “home” mode. It’s like if you’ve ever played a sport. You’re just not going to show-up without warming up or listening to music that gets you psyched. On the flip side, when you’re done, you need to cool down and get back to homeostasis.

You can do this on your commute home by listening to a podcast that interests you but isn’t work-related. Call a friend or family member — studies have found that this energizes you more than coffee. Think about what you’re grateful for. Or, do a crossword puzzle.

Some people also immediately change out of their work clothes into something more comfortable as soon as they get home. Others go to the gym after work. Just try a couple of daily rituals out and see what works best for you.

Go on a tech detox — without stressing yourself out.

Technology is a blessing and a curse. It allows us to work whenever, wherever, and keep our fingers on the pulse of our business at all times. However, that also means we’re expected to work more hours.

In fact, according to a RescueTime study, people work an hour or more outside regular hours on 89 days of the year. But that’s not really the issue. It’s the anticipatory stress of receiving work-related messages off-hours.

Researchers from Lehigh University, Virginia Tech, and Colorado State University found that we feel more stressed and exhausted from expecting emails after hours than actually responding to them.

“It’s not only that employees are spending a certain amount of extra time answering emails, but it’s that they feel they have to be ready to respond, and they don’t know what the request will be,” said Samantha Conroy, one of the study’s authors. “So if they’re having dinner with their family, and hear that ‘ding,’ they feel they have to turn their attention away from their family and answer the email.”

What’s the solution here? Well, you can realistically go on a tech detox by:

  • Adding breaks and designated tech-free times. For instance, not responding to emails when having dinner — you can check your messages after.
  • Blocking apps at certain times, like when you’re meditating after work.
  • Assigning tech-zones in your home.
  • Allowing yourself to get comfortable with boredom. If you’re standing in line at the grocery on a Sunday, don’t look at your phone.
  • Consider removing social media apps from your phone. Some people also uninstall communication tools like Slack from their personal devices.
  • Spending your downtime in places where electronic frowned upon.
  • Stop relying on technology as much. Instead of using your phone for your alarm, invest in an old-school alarm clock.

Have mental clarity.

Mental clarity, according to Elizabeth Grace Saunders in HBR, is knowing “what needs to get done, and when you will complete it.” The most prominent example would dedicate “a place where you write down the many tasks that you need to do.” It doesn’t matter if it’s “in a notebook, a task management app, a project management system, or in your calendar.” The idea here so “that you’re not lying in bed at night trying to remember everything on your mental to-do list.”

After you’ve created this list, you’ll need to “plan out your work.” Ideally, this would be scheduling time in your calendar for your priorities. Sounds obvious. But, “this planning reduces the anxiety that something will fall through the cracks or that you’ll miss a deadline,” writes Elizabeth.

“The final part of increasing your mental clarity is to have an end-of-workday wrap-up.” At the minimum, this includes reviewing “your daily to-do list and calendar to make sure that everything that absolutely must get done.” It also wouldn’t hurt to “do a quick scan of your email to ensure any urgent messages are attended to before you leave the office.”

When you decide to check your emails and messages is up to your discretion. Some people do the last check of the night right before they leave work, like within the final 30-minutes of the day. Others prefer to do this activity during the last hour or two.

Prioritize your social life.

I get it. Some days you come home, and you just want to veg out — or get back to work. But, neither are always the answer if you want to leave work at work. The answer? Socializing.

A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that those who are more socially active are better able to recover from work strain and can sleep better at night.

To make socializing a priority, schedule social activities to your calendar. At the same time, you don’t want to overdo it. Sometimes you leave blank spaces in your schedule to allow for flexibility — like if you run unexpectedly into a friend.

Don’t hard crash your workday.

“Just as it’s never a good idea to hard crash your computer, you shouldn’t hard crash your day,” Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, Ph.D., organizational psychologist and author of The YOU Plan, told Forbes. “Closing out your day in an orderly and positive way is critical to making that clean psychological transition into the personal side of life.”

“Nobody likes that feeling of unfinished business hanging over their head while playing with the kids or dining with the family,” Woodward added. “So it’s important that you do what you can to make as clean a break as possible when walking out the office door.”

How should you wrap-up your workday? Well, here are some suggestions:

  • Evaluate your to-do-lists and review tomorrow’s schedule.
  • Check-in with your team to double-check deadlines and make sure everyone’s on the same page.
  • Tidy up and organize your workspace.
  • Tidy-up any loose ends like responding to an email.
  • Reflect on what you’ve accomplished.
  • Turn off your lights and equipment.
  • Commit to leaving stress behind at work.

Find ways to decompress.

Hopefully, if you’ve implemented a fulfilling routine, then you’re already finding healthy ways to relieve stress. Healthy examples of this are — meditating, exercising, and hanging out with friends and family. Other options are picking-up a hobby, learning something new, or engaging in a little self-care. You may even want to vent to someone who you trust — just don’t harp on what’s bothering you.

But, what if these examples are not enough to help you continue at your break-neck speeds? Well, establish a calm and therapeutic evening routine.

Jeffrey Brantley, M.D., and Wendy Millstine, NC., authors or Five Good Minutes in the Evening: 100 Mindful Practices to Help You Unwind from the Day & Make the Most of Your Night, also suggest:

  • Release nagging thoughts. If a work-related thought pops in your head, acknowledge it and name what you’re feeling. You can then tell this thought, “I hear you, but not now,” or “I release you.”
  • Unraveling like a thread. Use visualization to help you decompress, such as unwinding your thoughts like a spool of thread.
  • Surround yourself with humor. Watch a YouTube video, TV show, or movie that makes you laugh. Ask Google or Alexa to tell you a joke. Or, call someone who already makes you laugh.

How to Create Work Life Integration In Your Business

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I often get asked about how I manage my own work-life balance. The answer is quite simple – I don’t believe in balance. It’s a myth. Instead, I focus on work-life integration and design my life and business accordingly.

Why I Prefer Work-Life Integration

The reason I don’t believe in work-life balance is that it implies you can give equal attention to all parts of your life. It also implies that all parts of your life are independent of each other. Anyone who lives in the 21st century can tell you this simply isn’t true and trying to pursue it leads to even more stress. There will be stages in your life when one area takes up more time than another and vice versa. A more attainable goal is work-life integration – meaning your career and your personal life work together.

How to Create Work-Life Integration

If you run your own business, you have more control over your work and your personal time. After all, you are the boss. The key is to make sure you aren’t the worst boss you’ve ever had. Here are a few of the ways you can integrate your work and your life so that they complement each other instead of competing with one another.

Attend events.

I’m a big networker. I’m always at some event supporting another female business owner or friend, at a workshop or at a professional happy hour. In the past week, I’ve had three events due to the holiday season – and each of them helped them were fun and helped me advance my career. We tend to think that work is hard and that it’s separate from fun. The truth is the two can coexist. For example, I attended an event a colleague was putting on as a guest. We just so happen to discuss a potential brand collaboration in 2018 while we were there. Not to mention, I’ve met a lot of the people I have the privilege of calling friends through work events. I met my roommate at a blogger meetup. That same blogger meetup group has given me an award for the last two years which has led to brand sponsorships.

Use technology to create location independence.

I like to travel for the most part. This is made a lot easier by the fact that I can literally work from anywhere so long as I have an internet connection. Using technology to run my entire business has allowed for work-life integration. For instance, a family member surprised me with a cruise last year. While I didn’t work for most of the trip, I could check email from the solarium of the ship if I needed to.

Stop making yourself feel guilty.

I still sometimes make myself guilty for working on a weekend but taking a Tuesday afternoon off. The reality is we can make whatever kind of schedule we want for ourselves. Maybe I go out on a Wednesday night because of a festival and work Saturday. Just because my regularly employed friends don’t do that doesn’t mean it’s not acceptable.

Final Thoughts

For many of us, the entire point of starting a business was so that we would have more control over our time. By focusing on work-life integration instead of work-life balance, we can easily live life on our terms.
Originally published here.
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