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Are you over working ? Here is your plan to regain your life.

What is over working?

“If I just work late this week, I’ll get on top of the work situation…..”

How many times have you said that? If it’s most weeks, there is a good chance you are over working. Working longer hours doesn’t mean all of those hours are equally as productive and now in this Covid era we have another complication – working from home.

“Always On” Culture

Back in 2019, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) issued a report stating that 3 in 5 employees were working longer than they would have liked, with 1 in 4 working at least 10 hours of overtime per week.  Fast forward to 2020 and according to the web service provider NordVPN, the ‘all ways on’ culture has reached new heights with home working. Workers are logging in for an average of two hours longer every day across Europe. With less socialising and no escape from the laptop, there is a real risk of over working. By early April, a survey of 1001 US employees by Eagle Hill Consulting found that almost half attributed a mental health toll to an increased workload.


The Impact

Working continually longer hours not only impacts your mental health it also impacts your physical health, your relationships and your overall performance. In Japan there is a term called “karoshi” which means death from over work and it is a recognised issue. The stress associated with overworking can weaken your immune system according to research by the American Psychological Society, which is not great news during a pandemic. It also makes us less productive. Not switching off leads to disrupted sleep, which then leads to tiredness the next day and an accumulation of ‘frazzled feelings’.

According to a recent CIPD absence management survey 6 out of 10 people take longer to do a job and 8 out of 10 people can’t concentrate when under stress. So dealing with the stress as a priority, rather than suffering it will lead to a more productive but shorter working day.

The fabled ‘work-life balance’ has seemingly disappeared for a lot of people. We have said for many years that there is no such thing as work-life balance. It’s all life. So, it’s more important than ever to consider work and it’s role in your life and your health. Life doesn’t have to change overnight. By adding one good thing to your routine each week you will be much better placed to embrace work and enjoy life.

What can we do?

  1. Have a separate working area, or put your laptop away at a set time every day if you are working from home.  It’s harder to switch off when it’s right in front of you all evening.
  2. Set boundaries with colleagues and clients. If you are a manager set the expectations for your team. For example – no meetings after 4pm, no emails after 6pm. Everyone knows where they stand and it gives all of you permission to enjoy your evening. Try going for a socially distanced walk. Call a friend or family member at a set time every day to mark when work is over.
  3. Say no. This can feel hard, especially if you are self-employed. If you have demands coming in all through the day and night – decide which are the clients you want to have and set your working hours around them. Let the rest go. Working 24/7 will lead to mistakes.
  4. Put fun on your to-do list! We all have a list, but somewhere between the shopping and putting the bins out, allocate some time for you. Play with the dog, sing, do an online exercise class, or just sit and be. This isn’t being selfish this is being practical. Exercising both the creative and logical aspects of your brain will give you a rounded perspective and allow you to see more options. See our blog on Growing Your Creative Superpower 
  5. Introduce a sleep routine. When we put a baby to bed we bathe them, play soothing music, make sure the room is the right temperature and that it is dark enough. Review your sleep routine. Take a look at our sleep blog for more tips. The more rested you are, the better you will do the work you need to do. Athletes work on their nutrition as well as their sport. They also have rest days. Peak performance is about accuracy and speed of thought and action. This cannot be achieved effectively when you are tired.
  6. Try mindfulness or meditation. There is a Buddhist saying that if you are busy meditate for an hour a day, if you are really busy – meditate for two hours! By emptying your mind, even for 10 minutes, your brain will be less frazzled and more able to tackle the tasks in hand. Think of it as basic maintenance – like emptying your spam folder to preserve space for necessary emails.Take a look at our article on mindful walking.  Sit in the garden or a park and pay attention to your surroundings. What can you see, what can you smell, what can you hear? Alternatively, focus on your hands and let go of all other thoughts for 1 minute to slow down your pace.

Want More Help?

For more help with balancing your commitments whilst fulfilling your true life’s purpose check out My Wellbeing Club and start to gain the most you can from your life.

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About The Author

Sharon Critchlow

Sharon Critchlow is a Wellbeing Advocate, speaker and facilitator at Discover Your Bounce for Business. Passionate about people being the best they can be she is a Time To Change Champion for mental health and holds a Masters level qualification in strategic coaching for performance. Sharon is a qualified accountant and has 20 years experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. www.discoveryourbounce.com www.time-to-change.org.uk