We’ve all heard the ancient mantra of “hard work”. While there’s nothing wrong with working hard to achieve your goals and to satisfy the demands of your role, putting work before everything else in life is a proven recipe for disaster.
Today’s mantra is more like this – “Don’t work harder. Work smarter”. And Millennial employees are leading the way. They’re putting themselves first, much to the disdain of older generations of workers. But times change and as they do, we find smarter ways of working, including remote and flexible work.
We can all agree that these are welcome advents, right?
This post details the 5 reasons why working too many hours is a bad idea. While some are proud of having their nose to the grindstone 24/7, they’re not doing themselves, their families or even their employers any favors. Here’s why.
1. Less effective work
There’s no question that there will occasionally be moments which call for heroic efforts. Those should be few and far between. The truth about consistently working long hours is that it opens the door to errors and shoddy work.
When you’re exhausted, you’re no longer as sharp as a tack.
2. Lost clarity
After 8 consecutive hours on the job, we become less focused. Fatigue descends and again, our effectiveness is significantly diminished.
There’s a reason our forebears fought for a 40-hour work week. And amazingly, following its codification, employers saw that productivity was greatly enhanced when employees weren’t driven to exhaustion.
Human beings need rest to be truly effective in their work.
3. Systems depleted
The human body does most of its repair work while we sleep and rest. When we’re consistently working longer days than we should, we’re not giving our bodies a chance to repair themselves and this can lead to systems which break down because they’re severely depleted.
Like a battery, you need to be re-charged to do your best work.
4. Big moments blown
You’ve been working like a beast, but you still need to show up for that big presentation and crush it. But when you’re teetering on the edge of exhaustion, you can blow it.
And what’s more, you’ll look tired. No one needs to tell you that appearance matters in settings like the conference room. If you’re tired, your brain not only doesn’t work as well as you need it to in a situation like that, you appear sluggish and drained.
5. You can’t do it forever
And that’s a major problem, because when you do finally slow down enough to catch your breath, your colleagues will wonder what happened to the beast of burden they’re so used to.
When your employer and colleagues become accustomed to your putting in excessive hours, they come to expect it. People tend not to understand when you suddenly realize you have a life to live and health to look after.
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