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7 Reasons To Apologize for Working Too Hard

7 Reasons To Apologize for Working Too Hard

Everyone’s at it, you know. Working overtime for more hours than are healthy, sacrificing the time you really want to relax and enjoy life in for an extra bit of heft in your monthly paycheck. As a generation, we’re all working too hard, and this is a real problem. This is not an endorsement of slacking off by any means; but working to excess, to the point of physical, mental, psychological and spiritual exhaustion, all in the name of elusive praise, stubborn pride, or that all-important money, is not healthy.

With more people than ever reporting work burnout and finding themselves disenchanted with their jobs – which they’d previously found enjoyable and fulfilling – it seems that our Western culture of making everything quicker, faster, and more demanding is taking its toll on our lives.

So, if you’re sliding down that slippery slope and working too hard, you may need to apologize for these seven things:

1. You’re be damaging your relationship.

One of the most destructive things that working too hard can do is ruin your relationship. Spending endless hours at the office or on conference calls drains away time and energy that could be better spent celebrating your bond with the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with. Too many relationships have ended due to work commitments that could have been reduced if not for a culture of competition and reckless devotion to the world of work.

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One of the simplest ways to help keep a relationship a top priority is to make a recurring date night. It doesn’t have to be every Thursday night at the same place at the same time, but by devoting a solid amount of time where the rest of the world is of no concern, you’ll help keep your relationship happy and thriving.

2. Your loved ones need more of your time.

The true heart of your life should always be yourself and your loved ones, be they friends or family. Working too hard can severely deplete your energy, leaving none left for those you hold dear. Simply put: working too hard will damage your children, friends and spouse.

Carving out chunks of time for your family in a hectic work schedule may seem like a daunting feat, but when managed right, it can help balance out the demands of living in an increasingly hectic 21st-century life. Make sure you all eat together at least two nights a week. Also, make commitments with friends to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.

3. You’re neglecting your duties at home.

If you’re working too hard, your home can fall apart without you even realizing it. Coming home to a place that is smelly, cluttered, and full of trash and discarded clothes cannot be beneficial to your mental health.

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So take time off if you need to, or cut back on unnecessary commitments so that you can get your house in order. Spend a weekend doing the laundry, vacuuming, cleaning and doing all that necessary stuff that makes the space where you eat, sleep and relax both habitable and enjoyable. Working too hard isn’t an excuse for getting your home environment into a toxic state, and the sooner you clear the dishes, change the sheets and sort the clutter, the sooner you’ll be feeling the positive benefits.

4. You’re focusing too much on money.

It’s symptomatic of the 21st-century way of living, but too much of peoples’ lives these days focuses on money, money, money. While I’m certainly not advocating giving up your worldly possessions, everyone could do with giving up their fixed gaze upon money.

The best way to focus on the bigger picture here is to imagine time as a currency – you have no idea how much you have, but every day you lose a little chunk of it, like someone slowly draining away pennies and dollars from your savings account, and you can’t stop it. What do you do? If you keep treating money like the most important thing in the world, hoarding money like a Dickensian villain will only make you lose the things that are truly important in life: love, family, relationships, your creativity and your spirituality. For an immediate transformation, go and volunteer with a local charity and see how giving your time to help those less fortunate stacks up against working too hard so you can keep on keeping up with the Joneses.

5. You’re losing your sense of fun.

Life is meant to be fun, isn’t it? Maybe not all the time; there are always jobs to be done, but working too hard can rob your sense of unbridled fun, something that should never be allowed to happen. Denying yourself of activities that give you a childlike sense of wonder, exuberance and joie de vivre is detrimental to your overall mental health and well-being. Everyone needs downtime.

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So go and enjoy whatever it makes you happy: fantasy football, hiking, reading comics, spending time with your friends, family or pets. Make yourself set clear boundaries between your work life and your home life. This helps to establish that your work is not the central focus of your entire life, and that it does not infringe on your leisure time. After all, we’re only here for a little while on this planet – what are the chances that not having enough fun might be on your list of regrets?

6. Your work-life balance is suffering.

The work-life balance is something that people have struggled with for years, and it is hard as heck to juggle everything that life seems to want to throw at us. Work commitments, family commitments, friend commitments, the list goes on. Working too hard means that whatever kind of balance you’ve established for yourself can become unraveled, negatively impacting your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

The key to this? Focus on your schedule and try and make sure that your boundaries are maintained. Don’t answer non-vital emails when you’ve gone home for the day, or work when you’re not in the office or on their time. Your life is your own for a reason, and giving it up for a company is a big waste.

7. You’re living to work… rather than working to live.

The final reason you should give up working too hard at the expense of everything else in life is simply that when it boils down to it, you are living to work, rather than working to live. Even if you love your job – which we ideally all should – there needs to be a point where the money helps us fulfill other meaningful aspects of our lives.

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Life is not about the hours you put in at the office or promotions. Earning money helps us provide our lives with the means of doing what we want to do, but if we’re spending all of our time working on getting the money and the means, we won’t have time to actually do what is important. Imagine missing your child’s college graduation because you were too focused on a project to take the time off, or ducking out of a wedding in order to answer emails. It doesn’t sound good, does it?

You only get one shot at life. What will you regret more – not working hard enough to get more money, or not realising that what makes a person truly rich are your family, friends and loved ones, and how you choose to spend your precious time with them?

Featured photo credit: camknows via flickr.com

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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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