For most of us, a 40-hour work is a thing of the past. In fact, it is estimated that the average work week is roughly 49 hours or more. With so much to do in so little time, it may feel like you don’t really have a choice when it comes to time spent in the office. But what are those extra hours costing? They may have a surprising impact on your health.
A recent study found that working 61 to 70 hours a week increased the risk of coronary heart disease by a whopping 42%, and working 71 to 80 hours increased it by 63%. And because heart disease is still the leading cause of death worldwide, with more than half a million deaths each year in the United States alone, this study provides important insight.
On top of a higher risk for heart disease, yet another study found that people who work long hours have a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours.
Now you may be asking, are the long work hours worth it? Unfortunately, it seems like extra time spent in the office may not even lead to increased productivity. This is because long hours can zap your energy, focus and efficiency. Just take a look at Germany, the country with the largest economy in Europe, yet the average worker only spends 35.6 hours per week on the job.
So, what can we learn from Germany? Not only is working less possible, but it may be essential to overall health and well-being. Here are some steps you can take to make less work equal more productivity:
Get more sleep at night. This will give you the energy to be more productive during the day and get you out of the office sooner.
Create more than one to-do list. One of the best ways to ensure you get tasks done is to organize them onto a list. However, instead of looking at your crazy, long to-do list for the week, make a list for just today. This will help keep you focus and prevent feeling overwhelmed.
Tackle the tough stuff. Instead of procrastinating and avoiding the biggest items on your to-do list, start with the toughest project. Not only will this help get the stressful stuff over with earlier in the day, it likely won’t be as bad as you’re thinking it will be.
Get distracted. While this isn’t an excuse to get sucked into social media feeds for hours, studies have shown that listening to music can help to boost creativity and let thoughts flow more freely.
Buddy up.Oftentimes, projects can seem more daunting when you’re facing them alone. Instead of trying to always do things on your own, try working with your colleagues to complete tasks. This will lighten the workload and likely produce a better outcome.
Stay up-to-date. Nothing kills productivity faster than feeling worn-out. Between the chaos of work life and home life, it’s easy to overlook your health. But the truth is, staying up-to-date with routine wellness visits and health screenings can make all the difference. By safeguarding your health, you’re ensuring the best version of you both inside and outside of the office.