By Robin Lines
One of the most insidious myths is that the more time you put into a project, the better the results. In truth, working long hours on one project will boost neither your productivity nor the quality of your work. You are more likely to simply burn out.
Overworking leads to stress and physical exhaustion. When you are running yourself ragged on a job, it is not an example of hard work; you are paying the price for mistakes. It could be you have not prioritised your time correctly. Perhaps you underestimated how long the project could take? Whatever the reason, you need to ensure the cycle does not repeat.
A burned-out individual is less creative, less responsive and less enthusiastic. One of the major issues with overworking is that an individual is unable to focus due to fatigue. In turn, they begin to procrastinate and fall farther behind. Soon, they need to push themselves even harder to get the project over the line. How likely is it that they will do a good job?
It’s Vital Not to Lead People to Exhaustion
If you are a leader, then it is vital that you understand how pushing yourself too far can have a negative impact because you have a greater responsibility to your people. Burning out your employees is a sure-fire way to lose loyalty, and to impact the productivity of your department or even the company. While some people will relish the occasional hard push to finish a project, you need to avoid developing a culture of high pressure. People will start to leave.
There are several steps you can take to reduce overworking. As we have previously examined, efficient time management and the use of techniques such as Pomodoro allows you to prioritise both tasks and breaks better. Even a few minutes of quiet on a hectic day can re-energise a person.
Manage Your Routines
Routines, in general, can help you with organising your day. Starting in the home, you should ensure you are allowing yourself adequate time to relax and sleep. Keep in mind that being overtired has the same effect on your brain as alcohol, and few people would recommend alcohol as a productivity booster! With that in mind, remember that while a drink can be relaxing, alcohol also has a negative impact on the quality of your sleep. If you are heading into a busy week, it is best to stick to soft drinks and set aside the scotch for when you are finished.
Try and avoid taking work home with you and try to make sure your people do not feel obliged to do so. Ensure that when you are out of the office, you have leisure activities to keep your mind off work. A gym membership, a creative outlet or even shooting aliens in a video game can all give your brain a chance to unwind and reboot. We have previously written an article on keeping your work and home life separate that you may find useful.
Above all, learn. Whenever you hit a period of intense work, ask yourself, how did this happen, and could it be avoided? Have you not been keeping your calendar up-to-date? Did you forget to allot rest-days? Have you been sinking time into tasks that could wait? There could be any number of reasons, so it is important you take the time to evaluate what went wrong and how you could fix it for the future.
Professional Services Consultant
I'm a highly experienced, versatile and dynamic training facilitator and business coach, dedicated to assisting leaders in helping their people achieve their potential and realise goals. I also deliver a range of Consultative Selling and Key Account Management programmes, equipping salespeople with the skills, tools and methodologies to help them win and outsell their competition.