Occupations in America have filtered over into almost every aspect of our lives. Work has become the focal point of an individual’s contribution to society. In fact, salaried workers in America work an average of 49 hours per week. Overall, the average work week in America for all full time employees is still over 45 hours. Working too much can be detrimental to physical health. Employees with balanced lives will be more efficient, healthier, safer, and happier. So, how do we find the harmony between a hectic work schedule and the other facets of life?
What issues does an unhealthy balance cause?
There is such thing as working too much. Of course, it is necessary for us to spend many hours on the job in order to pay bills, buy groceries, and do our diligence as members of society. However, there are times when we need to put down the pen, close the laptop, and call it a day. Otherwise, you could be facing a variety of health issues, such as these:
- Employees who routinely work longer than 8 hours a day face an increase in the chance of developing heart disease. In fact, those who work 11 or more hours a day could face as much as a 60% increase in the risk of developing heart disease.
- Working excessively can be damaging to your mental health. Once again, those who work 11 hours a day, on average, double their chances of developing depression.
- High stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet can all lead to weight gain for those who work too much. Weight gain, in turn, can lead to other health complications such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Outside of the physical and mental health realm, working too much can be damaging to one’s personal life. Families, friends, and hobbies are all critical components to the overall happiness of an individual. When work takes precedence over these things relationships suffer, and hobbies are not developed or entertained. Thus, a balance is crucial to the longevity and happiness of every employee.
How can you balance work and daily life?
Employees can make changes to their work habits and lifestyle in order to avoid spending too much time on the job. Here are a few tips for finding the right balance:
- Technology has created a society in which we are constantly connected. Whether that means an employee is on call, constantly receiving work-related emails, or completing paperwork on a laptop; work follows us everywhere. ‘Unplugging’ yourself from the circuits of employment once you leave the workplace is an effective way to reduce the extra time you spend on your job.
- It is okay to be imperfect. Don’t let the drive for perfection burn out your passion for your work. Do things well, and leave it at that. Perfectionism will only result in unnecessary work, and unhealthy work habits.
- Make sure you incorporate time into your schedule to completely remove yourself from the career world. Plan for a few hours every night, before bed, to spend time reading a book, working on a project, or interacting with friends and family.
- Exercise is a critical component to a healthy lifestyle. The release of endorphins triggered by exercise will improve mood, relieve stress, and help employees maintain a healthy heart and mind. Ultimately, it will energize you more and increase your efficiency in all aspects of life.
- Do not waste your time with activities or people who sap your energy. Be productive! If you find yourself with people who negatively affect your mood, or drain your energy and time, then it is time to move one. Focusing your energy and time will allow you to complete work tasks efficiently, and within normal hours. You will have more time for yourself, and for those you care about if you stop wasting time on things that aren’t worth it.
Finally, it is important for employers to be observant of their employees, and be aware how much they are working. Certainly, employees can make changes to help balance work and life. However, that is awfully hard to do when your boss is breathing down your neck about deadlines, overtime, and extra paperwork. Employers need to be catalysts in helping their employees balance their lives, not inhibitors.