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This is Why Overworking Should Not be an Expected Culture

by Kelly Chok. |

I went through an eye surgery recently, involving my retina. My retina was apparently detached from my eye , resulting in a blurry vision and an anxious mind. It was concluded by the doctor that it might have been caused excessive exposure to screen time and by genetics.

I was in shock and obviously, I had to stop my employment for a month.

This isn’t uncommon, I’ve heard many stories of agency employees collapsing due to long working hours. Overtime culture is expected especially in the media industry. We need to be constantly on-edge, which results in pulling an all-nighters frequently just to complete ad hoc tasks and last minute requests.

Ironically, we always talk about ‘work + life balance’ and the importance of maintaining this lifestyle. This unfortunately, has yet to be implemented in our work culture. Employers still place a huge importance in prolonged working hours, thinking that more hours equates to more output.

While the hustling culture may seem glamorous on TV, it is also imperative for us to give ourselves a breather. Here’s why:

1. You will suffer a burnout from overworking

A burnout is an emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive stress. You will most likely suffer a burnout after overworking for an extended period of time. This in return will jeopardize your productivity and performance. You will feel sluggish, unmotivated and anxious every day at work. You’ll even dream about work and you’re always worried if you’re able to meet the deadline.

2. Your health will be compromised

I’m sure we’ve heard of many stories online about employees being suicidal and mentally stressed. Not only does overworking mentally drain you, your physical health could also be compromised due to prolonged screen time exposure and lack of sleep.

Aside from retinal detachment, you might even increase your risk of having stroke, gastritis and obesity. You will also put a strain on your mental health, developing illnesses such as anxiety which eventually leads to having severe panic attacks.

3. More input ≠ more output

Working overtime does not equate to productivity. You work over 40 hours a week is making you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul. As a matter of fact, managers won’t even be able to tell the difference between employees who actually worked 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to, according to a study by Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.

With that being said, we should have the responsibility and ownership to ensure all tasks are completed within a set time frame. One of the easiest ways to prevent overworking is to develop a more efficient working system.

For starters, examine your energy levels throughout the day.

Most people tend to have higher energy levels in the morning, hence, urgent and time consuming tasks should be prioritized at this hour. If you desire to have consistent energy levels throughout the day, a switch in your diet such as limiting your refined sugar intake or carbs, could dramatically boost your energy levels.

Having a to-do-list is also another effective way of ensuring the completion of tasks.

Simply breakdown your chunk of work into bite-sized pieces - slashing off each line once you’ve accomplished a task. That way, you will feel less stressful handling heavy tasks whilst also keep yourself in check.

For more efficient ways of completing tasks, I recommend reading ‘The Career Manifesto: Discovering Your Calling and Create an Extraordinary Life’ by Mike Steib as it offers you practical and realistic methods to do less and get more input.

The verdict?

Overworking is counterproductive and essentially creates an unhealthy culture that will damage our overall well-being. ‘Busy-bragging’ shouldn’t be a common thing and start developing efficient ways of tackling tasks to maintain our productivity.

You see, hard work is not a bad thing. The danger lies in prioritizing the amount of work you do rather than the quality of work you do and your health. We should always remember that balance is key. A healthy mind and body could contribute so much more.

You may also find Kelly on Instagram.

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