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10 Reasons You Should Stop Working Long Hours Today

10 Reasons You Should Stop Working Long Hours Today

If you have a job in the present challenging economic times, you are probably doing everything you can to hold on to it. If your employer asks you to put in 50 hours of work every week, you likely go further and put in 60 or more hours. You might think you are getting more done by working longer, but in fact every hour you put in over 40 hours a week is making you less productive, both in the short and long term. Studies have found that the “sweet spot” for optimum productivity is 40 hours a week. Here are ten specific reasons you should stop working long hours today if you want to maintain optimum productivity.

1. Reduced productivity

Long work hours are often counterproductive. Ford Motor Company proved this in the 1990s through a series of studies that showed every additional 20 hours of work above the recommended 40 hours resulted in an increase in productivity only for three to four weeks before productivity turned negative. If you consistently work long hours, you get burned out and inevitably start falling behind in your duties. Productivity declines and you have to spend more hours trying to catch up on neglected tasks.

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2. Increased fatigue

Fatigue sets in when you work extended hours over a long period of time. Symptoms of fatigue from extended workdays include sleepiness, weariness, poor concentration, irritability and increased susceptibility to illness. These symptoms are a big hindrance to productivity. If you don’t stop and rest from work, fatigue will increase and become overwhelming.

3. Higher safety risks

When fatigue increases and you become overwhelmed from long workdays, your safety is at risk. Accidents and injuries are more likely to occur in the workplace. This safety hazard, while difficult to clearly support with scientific evidence because fatigue levels are not easy to measure and quantify, is a logical concern that you should not ignore.

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4. Neglected social life

You will find it difficult to maintain a healthy social life when you work 60 or more hours a week. Free time to spend with family and close friends is not adequate with this work schedule. Extended work hours can also reduce the quality of your life by conflicting with quality time for family and time for other responsibilities and needs outside work. Stop working long hours and get a life outside of work.

5. More stress

Odds are when you work long hours you are doing it at the expense of not only your family and close friends, but also your diet, exercise routine and sanity. The more you try to prove you are a passionate and productive team player at work, the more you get forgotten by your kids, spouse and dog; and the more your mind registers stress.

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6. Musculoskeletal damage

Repetitive work when sustained in awkward postures increases the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that damage the body’s muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Avoid extended work hours to give your body sufficient time to recover and repair itself each day, otherwise your muscles might just buckle under work pressure.

7. Ergonomic hazards

Depending on where you work, lengthened work hours can expose you to serious ergonomic hazards like chemicals, radiation, vibration, noise, and extreme temperatures. Exposure to these ergonomic hazards can have serious health implications that you are better off avoiding by shortening your workday.

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8. Heart attack

The risk of heart disease increases markedly by 67% for people who work long hours compared to people who work the standard 7-8 hours a day, according to a report by The University College London. Although a number of underlying factors like high blood pressure may make a difference, working long hours does not help your heart. Professor Stephen Holgate of the Medical Research Council says: “This study should make us think twice about the old adage ‘hard work won’t kill you‘.”

9. Brain damage

Another report, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found middle-aged workers who clock upwards of 55 hours a week have poorer mental skills, including short-term memory and reduced ability to recall words, than those who work fewer than 41 hours. The study suggests that prolonged time at work can cause long-term brain damage or dementia. It is not clear why working long hours has an adverse effect on the brain, but this study should give pause for thought to workaholics.

10. Risk of obesity

Yet another study, by researchers at the University of Maryland School, reported that demanding work schedules can contribute to obesity. Lead researcher Nicole Au, who led a similar study at Monash University in Australia, said, “Extended work hours may reduce the time spent preparing home-cooked meals, exercising and sleeping, which are risk factors for obesity.”

Admittedly, some of these associations between extended work hours, health and safety concerns are not conclusive. However, getting off the 40-plus-hour-a-week treadmill now is definitely a better habit for your overall well-being and productivity.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on October 6, 2020

9 Steps to Disconnect from Social Media and Connect With Life Again

9 Steps to Disconnect from Social Media and Connect With Life Again

The world has never been more connected. No matter where in the world you are, you can send a message to anyone in another part of the world as long as you both have internet connection. In fact, Aussies living in the Outback will soon have access to the internet comparable to their city-dwelling counterparts. The internet not only breaks distance barriers, but also social barriers. A regular person, like you or me, can now tweet our favorite authors, athletes, and other famous personalities! Sometimes, they even respond.

But sometimes, you may get lost in your online life that you forget to live your real life. You may focus on being more connected only to end up being disconnected with the real world. How is social media ruining your life? Watch this video to find out:

Sometimes, you need to take a step back, disconnect from social media and connect with life once again. Here are nine ways you do so:

1. Eliminate Gadgets for One Hour Before Sleep and After Wake Up

You should spend the first hour of your day setting your own plans and agenda. You should be proactive in setting the direction of your day, not reactive. This way, you can determine how you want your whole day to go, not simply reacting to how other people want you to spend your day. During the first hour of your day, you can pray, meditate, connect with yourself, set your to-dos, and set your goals.

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You should also spend the last hour of your day preparing to rest–your body and your mind. If you check your social media profile before going to bed, your mind will not get the rest it deserves as you will fill your mind with your friends’ updates on their news feeds, which do not necessarily make your life any better in any way or give you rest.

2. Turn Off All Your Push Notifications

It does not only save your battery life, it also saves you from a lot of distractions. Turn off all your push notifications from email, chat, and social media applications. In case of really urgent matters, people will give you a call.

Success is about momentum. How can you gain momentum when notifications keep distracting you?

3. Keep your phone in a drawer while you’re working.

Sometimes, merely seeing your phone can distract you whether or not your notifications have been turned off. So, why not take the extra mile and completely hide it away from your sight given you can still hear urgent phone calls?

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Again, it’s all about building momentum.

4. Use Only One Device for Checking Social Media

Facebook on your desktop, on your laptop, on your smartphone, and, now, even on your Apple Watch? That’s great! For Facebook that is. But, not for your focus and productivity. The more devices you have that can log in to your social media profiles, the more distractions you have to avoid.

Of course, you still have to be connected online. But, use only one device to do so. This will help you condition your mind (and discipline yourself) that your gadgets are your tools for doing more important things than aimlessly scrolling down your news feed.

5. Give Yourself 30 Minutes to Stay Connected

Yes, you still have to log in! Being connected through social media is really a must in this technology-driven world. But, set a time limit for it. Otherwise, you will only waste hours each day. Give yourself thirty minutes (an hour at most) each day to respond to text messages, check notifications, accept friend requests, and respond to comments. I know you still want to. Unless, of course, you’re a social media manager. That’s a different story.

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In case you cannot discipline yourself to stop logging in to social media, you can use browser extensions like StayFocusd for Google Chrome to limit the time you spend on them.

6. Allot One Hour of Your Day to Respond to Emails

In this increasingly online world, email still remains the most personal way of online communication. This is where the most important engagements still happen online. Other social media like Friendster and Multiply have come and gone, but email still remains. That’s why you can spend another hour each day checking and responding to your emails.

7. Subscribe to Your Favorite Websites via RSS or Email

Most of us rely on social media as well to get updates on our favorite blogs and website. But, social media are full of distractions. Instead, be proactive in getting updates as well. Subscribe via RSS or email to make sure that the only updates you receive are the updates you really want to receive.

Don’t have an RSS reader? Try Feedly. Using RSS readers may be a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will save you from a lot of distractions. But, it can also get addicting. So schedule catching up on your RSS reader as well!

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8. Use Third Party Applications to Post on Social Media

In case you really need to post updates, use third party applications such as Hootsuite and Buffer. That way, you can avoid logging in to your social media accounts and getting distracted by your news feed and notifications. Because once you’ve logged in, it’s difficult to log out! You don’t fight temptation, you avoid it!

9. Live a Real Life

Most importantly, live a real life, interact with real people, and be awesome in the real world! Don’t stress yourself making your profile wonderful. Live an awesome life and it will automatically follow!

Do exciting stuff. Write a book. Plan a trip. Whatever. Just be awesome!

Most importantly, live a life that matters and you don’t have to get your satisfaction and fulfillment from likes and shares ever again!

How About You?

What do you do to disconnect from social media and connect with your life once again?

Featured photo credit: Singularity University NL: Man versus Machine – Biology versus Technology by Sebastiaan ter Burg via imcreator.com

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