We tend to think that working long hours shows we have a strong work ethic. It’s proof we’re not lazy and it will lead to more success.
Some of us even get in competition with our buddies on how many hours we put in.
But research shows that too much work is actually counterproductive. It hurts your health and your productivity.
A new study, published in the Lancet medical journal, showed a correlation with work hours and risk of stroke.
Compared to the “normal” 40-hour workweek, working from 41-48 hours increased your risk of stroke by 10%. If you worked up to 54 hours a week the risk jumped to 27%. The last group working over 55 hours a week saw risk of stroke increase by 33%.
The reason for this isn’t proven yet. The researches think it could be due to increased stress, longer periods sitting at your desk, or just the fact that you have less time to eat right, exercise and take care of yourself properly.
Meanwhile, a Stanford study shows that after you reach 50 hours a week your productivity takes a big hit. Push it past 56 hours and your work starts to downhill fast. When you reach 70 hours a week, you produce nothing worthwhile with all that extra time.
That study focused on munitions workers so it’s not exactly the same for most of us who do office work. However, many other studies show the diminishing returns from overwork and not enough sleep.
You can get away with it in short bursts for big projects, but if it becomes the norm, your quality of work – and your health – will suffer greatly.
Depending on the survey, around half of American workers now say they put in more than 50 hours a week.
It’s time to start asking ourselves what we – and our employers – get for that?
Is there a better way to work less, get more done and achieve more balance in our lives?
I’m going to give some ideas on that in my next post.