This may sound strange to all you workaholics out there, beavering away ‘til the early hours to get a project completed or write up that important report, but you’re not doing you or your business any favours putting in all those extra hours!
We can soon get into the pattern of starting that extra hour earlier, taking work home to finish in the evening, coming in to the office at the weekend. I know, I’ve been there and done that! At the time, it seems like the only way of fitting everything in and getting the job done, there are never enough hours in the normal working day, but this is the road to ruin!
You are damaging your body, your personal life, and your business by not allowing yourself down time.
Working 24/7 is the fastest way to feeling jaded and fatigued in your job – and far from increasing productivity, it will leave you tired, distracted and demoralised.
If you work on getting the balance right, however, you will suddenly find that eight hours in a day is enough to get everything done – because you’re rested, fresh and focused – and you’ll be a happier, more positive employee/employer by enjoying life outside of work!
Here’s my checklist to combating midnight oil syndrome, to redress the balance and ensure your working days are productive, not prolonged!
Set yourself a cut-off point for finishing your working day – and stick to it! This isn’t a deadline to complete your work, it’s a time when you stop working, regardless of whether a task is completely finished. Whether it’s 5pm, 6pm or 7pm – set a definite time when the working day will end and your personal time will start. Having this end-time in mind has two main benefits.
It helps you stay focused and can stop you procrastinating over tasks and just get stuck in! If you’re always thinking to yourself ‘I can finish it at home later’, or ‘I’ll stay an extra hour to finish it’, it gives you an excuse to drag your feet or put things off. Second, it gives you something to look forward to. If all you can see ahead of you is more work, work, work – you’ll feel disheartened and de-motivated. This is why taking your weekends and holidays off are important too!
Your body needs sleep – and it probably needs more than you’re giving it at the moment! How much better would you feel if you allowed yourself the luxury of a good, eight hours sleep before the next working day? Starting the day tired is not a great recipe for success. Sleep deprivation crushes creativity, and positivity.
You’ll feel sapped of energy before you even start, meaning you won’t operate effectively, mentally or physically. It can also heighten anxiety and stress. Small issues that would, under normal circumstances, be dealt with quickly and without fuss, suddenly become mountainous, insurmountable problems. It’s impossible to think clearly with a fuzzy head. Get sleep, and get enough to feel refreshed and ready for anything!
Remember the old adage – do we live to work, or work to live? It’s essential to have interests, and a life, outside of work! You need something that will distract you and take your mind off of work. Something that you enjoy and makes all that hard work worthwhile! Whether it’s spending time with the family, or finding a hobby you love, make the most of your free time.
Whatever it is you decide to do, immerse yourself in it completely. Don’t allow yourself to think about work. You will find that clearing your mind will give you new energy and focus on returning to a task. It may even open up new avenues of thought that, had you not spent time away, just wouldn’t have occurred to you. Re-invigorate your passion for life because if you lose that, you’ll very quickly lose passion for everything else – including your job.
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