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How Much Overtime is Too Much?

There never seems to be enough time in a day. When you factor in work, family and leisure time for yourself, there’s just not enough time to satisfy everyone. So which is more important, job or family, work or play? I think it’s safe to say that money, family and keeping your sanity all have their importance in life. But so often work, intentionally or not, seems to overshadow the rest of our lives. Is it the money, or is it the feeling of self-accomplishment. Perhaps it’s just intimidation from your boss. Whatever it is, you must realize what your priorities are and ask yourself, how much time is too much overtime?

Working late and accomplishing the most at your job has its benefits. Higher pay, a better position and more praise from your employer, but at what cost? Studies show that stress leads to numerous health issues that correlate with overtime. A study in PLoS ONE shows that workers clocking in 11-hour work days more than double the risk of health concerns when compared to those who work the traditional eight-hours.

There are many factors that contribute to health risks from working too much overtime. Stress is a main one. For a lot of us, our work is not a relaxing place. Whether you’re a bartender, taking care of children, in customer service or a broker at a financial firm, let’s face it, our jobs are stressful. In fact, check out this recent post on How to Zen Your Office to reduce some stress at work. Regardless, it’s not rocket science to figure out the more time we spend at our job, the more stressed we become. No matter how important a deadline can be, remember that your health is even more important. Not everyone has the luxury, but if you can, try to accomplish some of your overtime work at home. This will draw you away from all the stress at work while spending quality and relaxing time at home with your family.  A good balance of work and family prevents you from overworking and being over stressed. Although there are some who go to work to rid themselves of the stress their family causes. The main idea here though is to reduce your stress, wherever it may be generated from.

One health concern of too much overtime that most do not realize is the poor eating habits that go along with it. Long and late-night work hours tend to promote fast and easy take-out food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eating out at fast and easy restaurants may be convenient and time efficient, but it’s certainly not benefiting your health- or your waistline. Accompany unhealthy eating habits with a lack of physical fitness and your body will need the overtime to get back into shape. A good way to combat this problem is making food at home and bringing it to work. For one, it will allow you to eat healthier foods easily and you won’t have to travel anywhere, giving you more time for lunch. Now with your extra time during lunch, try to facilitate a workout regimen at least three days a week. Even if it’s for a half-hour, you should do something to get your heart rate up.

How do you stay healthy and destressed at the office? Do you work entirely too much and put in too much overtime? What do you do about it- if anything? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

SOURCE: The Huffington Post
IMAGE: Courtesy of The Sydney Morning Herald

Chris Officer

1 comment

  • What about someone like me that works 12 hour days of constant manual labor, That is the exercise that my body can handle, while being exposed to extremely hot working environment that doesn’t allow proper hydration.
    Me and all in my department are so burnt out by the 10th hour nobody is that focused or productive. Not to mention when I get home if I don’t shower and go straight to bed I wont even come close to getting 8 hours sleep.
    Did I mention that I didn’t have dinner if I ran out of raman noodles because I’m too tired to cook and if I did that would leave me 6 hours to sleep if I could turn myself off like a light switch?
    In order to keep management happy from a production stand point I am often in a pickle of taking a lunch break or making my numbers. So 75% of the time no lunch for me. There is rarely the opportunity to get what my body and every other human beings body needs for nutrition and what the company needs for production in the same day.
    They don’t deny me lunch, but if I take it 90% of the time they wont get the production they need. Its not a matter of my level of efficiency either. I have clocked myself in all the tasks performed in my department and I can and do do it as fast or faster then the next most productive person. How do I find the balance? I find that the day I have off from a few 12″s in a row is spent in bed like a sick person. Dehydrated, soar, and nothing left in the tank. I only feel this down and incapable and sick is when I have the flu.
    So my days off are days of recovery and not productivity in my personal affairs and responsibilities for my family and my house, my health. Its hard to do anything when you cant even get out of bed.