Who here doesn’t want to leave the office early? Packing up your things, getting up from your desk, and exiting the door on time are all too easy tasks that many professionals just can’t seem to manage. This might have something to do with the notion that working extra hours means productivity; and productivity keeps the boss happy. What employees don’t realize is that they actually risk the quality of their work when overtime becomes a frequent habit.
In a study by Psychological Review, the researchers examined what “excellent musicians” were doing differently than average performers and found out that they practiced harder in shorter bursts of time. For instance, violinists who practice with designated goals, say for four hours, are able to improve better and faster than their counterparts who consume extended practice hours. This same principle applies to other professionals who allot time for rest and recuperation.
Here are a few reasons why you should work fewer hours.
Leaving early forces you to be disciplined.
Working beyond office hours gives you the illusion that you can put off later what you can do now. You miss out on the sense of the relief that at the end of the stressful day, you can finally face a life outside and that’s why you set yourself out to finish everything on time. Creating boundaries help you identify which tasks should be prioritized, thus, allowing you to achieve your goals for the day faster.
It keeps you from health risks.
Overtime work is always stressful. According to a study by the European Heart Journal, “Chronic work-related stress is associated with a 2- to 4-fold increase in cardiovascular events”, meaning professionals to tend to work more hours become more prone to experience heart-related complications. In the said study conducted on 6,000 British men and women, those who work for 10- or 11-hour days increased their risk of heart disease by 60 percent. Of course this is aggravated by bad lifestyle choices but this association between overtime and heart attack was taken “after taking into account 21 known risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, being overweight, and having high cholesterol”.
It pulls you back to life.
More time spent inside the workplace decreases the time you should be spending on your real life. Never forget that you have relationships outside of the people you work with, waiting to be graced by your presence. Having time for yourself allows you to have better sleep, to exercise and even to meditate. Work hard but don’t forget to play.
And it will likely make you a better person.
Because let’s face it, spending all those extra time on your desk can take a toll on your behavior. You’re likely to expend your stress and exhaustion on the people around you. And you wouldn’t want to cast negative effects on your relationships this way. It’s better to have time to breathe and surround yourself with people who inspire you and cultivate your mind.
At the end of the day, you have to console yourself with the idea that you are not your work. Sure, you like the job you do and aim to rank up the professional ladder at some point, but these should never be at the expense of your well-being. There are far efficient ways to achieve your goals without ever compromising more important aspects of your life.