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How to know when overtime becomes overkill

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Even though it can be very tempting to do 36 hours of work right after you get in on Monday, you cannot afford to overdo it when it comes to overtime and overwork. Burning too much midnight oil is a one-way ticket to burnout. For the sake of being productive, you’re going to want to make sure you give yourself enough time and rest. To actually be in the right frame of mind and get things done consistently you have to work at a pace, which is part of the reason the 40 hour work week was structured. The following are some of the most important things you can do in order to make sure burnout doesn’t stop you in your tracks, and help you notice when overtime becomes overkill.

Set a stopping point and stick to it

It’s great when you can get into a flow and it doesn’t even seem like time is passing, but at the same time, you want to make sure you have a clearly specified point to cut things off. Try designating a clear stopping point at certain times of day where any continued work past that point is off-limits. If you’re being kept at work for longer than your hours reflect, be resolute in your right to stop when it’s time to stop and get an overtime lawyer if necessary.

Make time for your hobbies

The amount of attention you give the things that make you feel enriched outside of work will have a direct effect on how effectively you can work in the meantime. You can’t let your universe become completely compressed to the subject of what you do for a living, or you will start to get claustrophobic. Taking periodic breaks to simply do something that makes you feel good is the best way to continue doing whatever that thing is in the long term.

Make sure you’re sleeping properly

Even if it doesn’t seem immediately apparent, the amount of sleep you’re able to get on a regular basis will subtly affect the ways your frontal cortex functions. You may be suffering from a dip in motivation that doesn’t even seem to exist until you realise what a difference being well-rested makes. Being better rested improves your immune system, emotional well-being, focus level, and all other aspects of your personality that are conducive to getting better work done in better time.

Get out and socialise

One of the biggest elements of burnout is a fundamental sense of isolation. When you feel alone in the battle against your work, you can get overwhelmed by independently bearing the weight and lose motivation. Getting in touch with others, whether they work in your field or not, can help you step outside of yourself and be part of the collective that shares in the struggle. Even if it doesn’t immediately solve your task at hand, it can be very good to know you aren’t alone in the challenges that you face.

Setting a stopping point, making time for your hobbies, getting good rest and socialising are essential aspects to making sure that burnout doesn’t completely burn up your productivity. Taking time off, ironically, is one of the best ways to get more done when you’re ‘on’.

Do you get overwhelmed when overtime becomes overkill? Post your advice below.

Eileen O'ShanassyHow to know when overtime becomes overkill

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