Is Working Overtime Worth It?


I’m wary of workaholics – I think escapism, not an enhanced work ethic, drives them to endure 40+ hour workweeks.  If you are lucky enough to be working in this economy now, do you work overtime? The typical American works 40 hours a week and makes $48,700 annually. Is Working Overtime Worth It?

I am not referring to government employees. They make 1 and ½ times their hourly salary for every hour over their standard workday.

If you are an essential worker, an office worker, or self-employed, is working overtime worth it?

It depends on how well you do your job and if you can maintain quality productivity.

Trying to make more money becomes a moot point if work suffers and you exhaust yourself out of a job.

Are you self-employed? Trying to become wealthy? Then you may be professionally or proprietorially obligated to work more than a typical work week.

Author and millionaire entrepreneur Grant Cardone recommends working 14-hour workdays to get ahead. Cardone believes outworking others sets you apart and focuses you on goals like a laser.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, long workdays won’t matter if you don’t plan out objectives or manage your time well.

In fact, Entrepreneur magazine recently published a study suggesting that working a 50+ workweeks may cause diminishing returns relative to productivity.

This is not to suggest that you should slack off or work less hours. There are many good reasons to work overtime.

However, it can just be a fruitless activity that hurts your standing if your body and mind can’t cope with extra work loads.

Here are some examples stressing the last point.

Is Working Overtime Worth It?

We all need to make money. It’s just that working overtime can be counterproductive to that goal.

We all metabolize energy differently – some of us may be able to sleep less and produce more than others.

You can exercise, eat better, and increase your stamina to work longer.

However, if your body is not ready, here is what can happen if you work overtime before you are mentally or physically are ready.

And, some tips on how you can train your mind and body to work longer hours.

Lost Productivity

We all have different metabolisms but working past your normal work hours may not result in better work.

After working past 50+ hours, workweeks productivity falls significantly.

Try working 50+ or 60+ hour workweeks for several weeks and you may begin producing the same level of work you would in a 40-hour workweek.

Take care of your health if you want to work longer hours.

Is working overtime worth it

Exercise every day. You will develop a clockwork precise metabolism to burn energy efficiently and then work longer hours. Improved health and stamina empowers professional ambition.

Mental Fogginess

Who doesn’t need money? Overwhelming and/or exhausting yourself won’t help your cause.

The brain can only focus on so much for so long.

If you start working 12+ workdays then the days may begin blurring into each other.

Your brain needs to appreciate that the workday is over and soon you will be home. Mental fatigue and fogginess can only result if you work as much as possible all the time.

Working overtime can cause loss of focus or a feeling of being overwhelmed.

In such situations you won’t be asking yourself, “is working overtime worth it?”

You start asking yourself, “what am I doing?”

is working overtime worth it

Working overtime can be mentally straining – which can’t help you maintain work productivity. Start practicing meditation. Make time for yourself in the day to decompress mentally. If you can make time to over-work, you can make time to mentally decompress too.

Working Overtime Disrupts Your Body’s Circadian Rhythm

Have you ever heard of a “circadian rhythms?”

A circadian rhythm is another name for your body’s internal 24-hour clock.

is working overtime worth it

Over a lifetime, your body develops an internal and custom schedule for sleep and wakefulness. Disrupting this internal rhythm abruptly will severely affects work productivity. Your body develops its own schedule for wakefulness, work, and sleep. It takes time to adjust it.

Circadian rhythm disruption is what causes jet lag after traveling to a far away country with a different time zone. (Plane crashes have been caused by overworked, tired, and yet highly trained airplane pilots with disrupted circadian rhythms.)

If you are used to getting at least 7 hours of sleep , and start to try functioning on 4 hours, chaos will ensue.

You will become lethargic, unable to focus, and possibly cognitively confused when trying to work. That can’t improve productivity on the job.

If you are used to sleeping 7 hours, try to adjust to 6 and 1/2 incrementally. Then work down to 6.

Slowly train your mind and body to cope with the circadian rhythm change.

Most people can’t work productively on less than 6-hours of sleep.

Is working overtime worth it

However many hours you decide to sleep, try to get restful slumber without interruption. Plot out a sleep schedule that works for you and stick to it. Your body needs to recharge as much as before you attempt another 10-hour shift on a 6-day work week.

Who doesn’t need extra money? It’s easy for me to tell you to sleep more.

But only some people can function on less sleep while working longer hours more. These are people with well attuned circadian rhythms.

Plan Out Your Workday Approach

Break up your workday into different shifts with with multiple breaks.

Working a 10-hour shift? Focus on each 3-hour or 4-hour shift to get through the whole shift.

Break up your work goals to correspond with each 3-hour or 4-hour mini shift. Take short breaks every one-to-two hours. Go get a cup of coffee or go for a walk.

You will just overwhelm yourself if you try to steamroll straight through a half a day of work.

Get enough sleep according to your circadian rhythm. Be aware of cognitive decline due to exhaustion and mental fogginess.

Remember, some people exhibit the same amount of work productivity they did even after working longer hours.

Plan out your approach to working overtime.

Is working overtime worth it? That may be a moot point if you need the money.

Still, there is no sense in exhausting yourself out of a job either.

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