Have you ever considered how long working hours affect your health, wealth, relationships, and well-being? It's no surprise that hard work has been idolized to achieve unlimited success. Unfortunately, most society associates "hard work" with long working hours.
According to our upbringing, long working hours show dedication, commitment, and perseverance. But when the need to work interferes with our health, personal happiness, and social functioning, it becomes a burden.
How Many Hours Can You Work and Still be Productive?
According to one interesting study, the average knowledge worker is only productive for about 3 hours per day.
The eight-hour workday is not based on the number of hours a person can concentrate. While it may be difficult for some to believe, the eight-hour workday was implemented to make the average workday more humane.
Tips on how to deal with working long hours
When it comes to successfully coping with long hours of work, attempting to complete your tasks in one sitting and hoping for the best is the least recommended strategy.
Regardless of why you're working extra hours, it's critical to stay healthy and productive during a long week. So here are a few coping strategies for working long hours.
1. Plan and Prioritize
If you plan your entire day down to the minute, you'll find it easier to work longer hours because you'll know exactly how you'll spend your time.
First, make a clear to-do list of your priorities — make sure your priorities are crucial, urgent, and essential tasks, i.e., tasks that will significantly lighten your load in the coming days.
Keeping and tracking such a to-do list will reduce the chances of an unexpected priority task popping into your mind at 10 p.m. — because all your tasks will be listed and accounted for.
2. Stay Away from Distractions
There are methods for preventing distractions from reducing your ability to concentrate.
If you live in a small apartment and cannot isolate yourself in a separate room while working, you can always use noise-canceling headphones and listen to an online noise generator.
If your phone is causing you to lose focus at work, put it away or use a website blocker app.
This way, you'll be less likely to succumb to distractions and may even finish your tasks much faster than expected.
3. Avoid Multi-tasking
As much as millennials wish, there is no unlimited access to your brain's RAM space (short memory). It is impossible to separate focus. You can only really focus on one task at a time. It has always been this way, and it will remain so as long as evolution does not change it.
When you stop trying to maintain this ineffective way of working, it will be better for your health and life in general. Spend a reasonable amount of time on each task separately, and you will notice a difference in productivity and fatigue levels.
4. Try Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Method is especially beneficial if you are easily distracted. You break down your work into small chunks, work on a single task for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break. Use a digital timer and integrate it with your favorite task manager to make things easier. Short bursts of intense focus can help you manage large projects and train your brain to resist distractions.
5. Get Social Help
A loving partner and trustworthy friends are essential for living a long and happy life. However, your coworkers can also assist you.
Join some workers' organizations and never be ashamed to ask for help. It is highly beneficial to surround yourself with people from the same industry. You will never feel isolated. In addition, if you have any work-related issues, you will have someone to seek advice from.
Workers' associations may or may not be primarily concerned with professional issues. Many of them hold casual get-togethers to get to know one another: every week or month. Decide what is best for you.
Humans are social beings, and it's time to recognize this!
6. Get Enough Sleep
You've probably heard it a million times, but getting enough sleep is the most critical productivity hack you'll ever discover. Sleep-deprived people take longer to complete tasks and have difficulty coming up with new ideas.
Numerous practices can help you sleep better, but you can start with the basics:
- Make a bedtime routine.
- Increase your daytime exposure to bright light.
- Avoid consuming caffeine at least six hours before bedtime
- Limit screen time before bedtime.
- Make your bed as cozy as possible.
Getting eight hours of sleep is simply not possible on some days, which is perfectly fine. During one of your breaks, you can always take a quick 15 or 20-minute nap Just don't overdo it, or you'll wake up feeling groggy rather than refreshed.
7. Take Regular Breaks
As counterintuitive as it may appear, taking breaks can help you stay focused and motivated while working on something challenging. However, taking the wrong kind of breaks will only make you want to take them more frequently.
Take a walk outside if the weather is nice to relieve eye strain. Being outside in nature has reduced stress and made you feel better.
Doing nothing is sometimes the best kind of break. Five minutes of meditation is enough to relax your mind and keep you going.
Bonus Tip: Anti-stress games can also be beneficial
Sometimes all you need to unwind is a 5-minute break to play a mobile phone game. It's another way to avoid anxiety and stress. The virtual objects and activities included in anti-stress game applications will distract your mind from all of your worries and help you boost your energy.
If you choose to work long hours every week with no longer breaks or holidays, your health will suffer regardless of what you do.
You need to focus on taking care of yourself in general and using the right strategies at work.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance by selecting a job you enjoy, using the right tools, exercising, eating well, and changing your reactions. Learn to be motivated by unexpected events, grow as a person, and enjoy working long hours. Stay healthy!