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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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