Employees working overtime can increase their risk of heart attacks by as much as two thirds, research reveals. A study conducted a while ago of 6,000 British civil servants, published in the European Heart Journal, suggested that people who regularly put in overtime increase their heart disease risk by nearly two thirds.
This is a frightening prospect but not that surprising given the extra hours that many people work and the ongoing stress associated with this.
As one of the areas we deal with is helping people to balance their work and life, we regularly come across people working 70+ hours most weeks.
If people want to reduce the hours they work - it should after all be the quality of the work you do rather than the quantity that counts - there are some simple strategies to adopt. Using these strategies we recently helped one individual reduce their weekly working hours from 65 to 35 without any reduction in results or success.
1. Set some limits
Decide how many hours a week of work is acceptable for you and schedule these hours in your diary. If you don't decide in advance how much work you'll be doing, work will expand to fill all available time you allow it.
You can only do so much with every hour that you work so take some time out to plan how you can be more strategic and set up new resources that you can rely on to save you time.
This may sound quite obvious but it's an area that a lot of people struggle with. Delegating is a skill that needs practice. As is the ability to coach those who you are delegating to so they can learn what needs to be done.
Don't be tempted to grab tasks back if they're not done perfectly first time or not done in the way you'd complete them. The whole point of delegating is to pick the right people for the right jobs so the end result is better than you'd produce, not just more of the same.
3. Add balance
If you don't have good reasons to get out of the office or close your laptop you'll find yourself still stuck there way too long.
Give yourself some good reasons to stop working - something social, sporty, family related or set aside some time for your favourite hobby - and you'll find that you get more done, more quickly so that you can move on to something more fun.