Curb the Urge to Overwork
A Trap, Not a Solution
Think back to a time when you have been really busy. (Is there ever really a time when you’re not?) You have more work than hours available. Now, raise your hand if you have ever said, “I’ll just work a few extra hours today/this week to ‘get on top of things’.” I suspect there are a number of hands being raised right now.
This is a trap. Just doing more—and more and more and more—rarely fixes the actual problems and contributes to ever-increasing stress levels. Additionally, productivity greatly declines after working 50 hours in a week and is basically non-existent once you hit 55 hours. Instead, think about what issues might be leading to extended hours, especially if chronic.
Overwork can be a sign of:
- Too much work because of lack of resources, e.g. an additional team member
- Deadlines that don’t allow for adequate time to complete the necessary work
- A culture that allows 24/7, always-on pressure and promotes burnout
Adding more hours to your week is even more detrimental when you lack control over your work, dislike it or don’t have the skills to do it well.
I understand that there are times when we may have busy periods. My urgent request is to be aware when it is happening, explore to see if there are other deeper problems that need solving, and avoid it becoming a chronic situation.