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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

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More About Boosting Productivity

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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