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Achieving Work-Life Balance #2: Long Work Hours and the Impact It May Have On Your Family

Achieving Work-Life Balance #2: Long Work Hours and the Impact It May Have On Your Family

In many areas of the world eight hours is considered a traditional workday. Even though it is known as a standard workday, a large portion of the world population works more than eight hours. An employee often works more than eight hours a day because their employer requires it or because they need the money. Regardless of the reason for doing so, it has been proven that long hours can have a negative impact on an employee and their family.

There are a number of health risks associated with working long hours. These health risks are elevated for workers in certain professions. Working longer than the traditional eight hours is likely to place a large amount of stress on employees. It has been known that stress is likely to cause a sleep deprivation. Individuals who suffer from a lack of sleep and a large amount of stress are likely to have a weak immune system. To be able to fight illness an individual body needs to receive the appropriate amount of rest and relaxation.

When an employer puts their health at risk they are not only putting themselves in danger, but those around them. Contagious colds and illnesses could spread from employee to employee or it can even be brought into the home. The last thing that an employer wants is for employees to get ill and request time off from work, but that does not stop many of them from requesting or requiring their employees to work long hours.

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The most obvious impact that long hours will have on you and your family is the amount of time that you will get to spend with them. Whether you are a newlywed or a parent, the time that you spend at home is important to your family relationships. It is not uncommon for tension to be present in a household where one or more of the home occupants are working long hours. It is also possible for unnecessary stress to occur when one family member is picking up extra household duties due to the other one working long hours.

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When an employee has regularly been putting in long hours at their workplace it is often difficult to stop. It is not uncommon for an employee to fear asking their employer for a reduction in hours in fear of losing their job. If a job was accepted on the terms that workdays would be longer than most traditional ones it may be difficult for you to find a solution to your long hours. If you agreed to the work arrangement your only alternative may be finding an organization that values the balance between working and life. If you did not agree to work long hours and were only doing so to bring in extra income you are encouraged to speak with your employer about returning to traditional work hours if your hours are having a negative impact on yourself and your family.

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There are many individuals who are required to work long hours or multiple jobs to financially support themselves and their family. Even if you are one of those individuals who must work long hours you still deserve to have a healthy balance between your work and your life.

— Jennifer Foote.
We will continue to discuss work & life balance in the series of Achieving Work-Life Balance. Stay tuned.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

When you become an early riser, you’ll experience a lot of benefits including feeling more energized and having more time to do what you want.

If you’d like to become an early riser, there are some things you should know before you run off to set your oft-ignored alarm clock.

So how to become an early riser?

Here are five tips I’ve discovered to be most helpful in making the transition from erratic sleeper to early morning wizard:

1. Choose to Get up Before You Go to Sleep

You’re not very good at making decisions when you’ve just woken up. You were in the middle of a dream in which [insert celebrity crush of choice here] is serving you breakfast in bed only to be rudely awakened by the harsh tones of your alarm clock. You’re frustrated, angry, confused, and surprised. This is not the time to be making decisions about whether or not you should stay in bed! And yet, most of us leave the first decision of our day to be made in a blur of partial wakefulness.

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No more!

If you want to be a consistently early riser, try making your decision to rise at a specific time before you go to sleep the night before. This frees you from making the decision in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Instead of making a decision, you have only to follow through on your decision from the night before.

Easier said than done? Of course. But only for the first few times. Eventually, your need for raw willpower to get out of bed will diminish and you’ll be the proud parent of a new habit!

Steve Pavlina suggests you practice getting out of bed during the day[1] to get a few of the “practice sessions” out of the way without the early morning fog in your head.

2. Have a Plan for Your Extra Time

Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day?

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If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.

What to do? Before you go to bed, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. Do you have a book to write, paper to read, or garage to clean? Make a plan for your early hours and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed.

You’ll get things done and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!

3. Make Rising Early a Social Activity

Your internet or social media buddies just don’t have enough pull to make your new habit stick in the long term. The same cannot be said for the people you spend time with as part of your early morning routine.

Sure, you could choose to read blogs for two hours every morning. But wouldn’t it be great to join an early breakfast club, running group, or play chess in the park at 5am?

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The more people you get involved in making your new habit a daily part of your life, the easier it’ll be to succeed.

4. Don’t Use an Alarm That Makes You Angry

If we’re all wired differently, why do we all insist on torturing ourselves with the same sort of alarm each morning?

I spent years trying to wake up before my alarm went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I got pretty good, too. Then I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized that different ring tones irritated me less but worked just as well to wake me up. I now use the ring tone alarm as a back up for my bedside lamp plugged in to a timer.

When the bright light doesn’t work, the cellphone picks up the slack and I wake up on time. The lesson learned? Experiment a bit and see what works best for you. Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock. Give something new a try!

5. Get Your Blood Flowing Right After Waking

If you don’t have a neighbor, you can pick fights with at 5am, you’ll have to settle with a more mundane exercise. It doesn’t take much to get your blood flowing and chase the sleep from your head.

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Just pick something you don’t mind doing and go through the motions until your heart rate is up. Jumping rope, push-ups, crunches, or a few minutes of yoga are typically enough to do the trick. (Just don’t do anything your doctor hasn’t approved.)

If you live in a beautiful part of the world like me, you might want to use a bit of your early morning to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.

If you have a coffee shop open within walking distance, dragging yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee to savor on your walk home as the world wakes around you is a wonderful experience. Try it!

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Featured photo credit: Nomadic Julien via unsplash.com

Reference

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