In Silicon Valley, budding young entrepreneurs talk proudly of working 60 hours a week. Indeed, in many industries, the demand for 60-hour work weeks is now common. It’s just another product of modernity, another result of a demanding economy where productivity and results are everything. If the economy isn’t allowed to rest, neither can you, which means many of us are tied to our desks day and night, responding to emails when our forefathers would have been hitting the sack.
Many of us know these long hours are just a byproduct of the 21st century. We shrug and say there is nothing we can do about it. It’s just the way it is, pass the espresso. Others have already turned into emotional robots who can’t even shrug. They just get on with it, as though programmed. All happiness disappeared way back when Frasier was discontinued and Eric Ries wrote The Lean Startup.
But does it have to be this way? Are 60 work-weeks really worth it when our happiness and health is at stake? Let’s take a look at the signs that you’re working way too much and need to consider cooling off.
It’s Saturday, The Game Is On – But You Can’t Relax
“It’s Saturday!” your buddy tells you. “You can’t seriously be working on Saturday!”
No, you cannot. You tell your buddy this; you tell him you’re going to watch the game with him. Work can wait.
But as you watch the game, your mind is constantly on work. You think about all those looming deadlines and all that work that is piling up. You can’t relax. The Lakers have just scored and you didn’t even notice.
This edginess of yours will wear you down. When you down tools for the weekend, you need to down them properly. You need to disengage from work completely
and focus on other things in your life. If watching a sport isn’t enough to distract you from work, try playing a game of sport.
Your Productivity Levels Are Down
Okay, so you’re working 60 hours a week, but your productivity levels are down? You ask yourself how this is possible. After all, according to your math, working more hours should lead to an increase in productivity.
Your productivity levels are down because your excessive hours are impacting on your ability to do your job. People who take a break and return are full of energy, ideas and renewed positivity. If you work 7 days a week without much of a break, you’ll be all out of ideas, your energy will be down to zero and your motivation will take a hit.
Your Wife Says She Never Sees You
“But I bring home the pay check! Without this pay check, we’d have no house!”
That’s your retort – and it’s a good one – but if your wife doesn’t ever see you, it’s a bad sign. Yes, you’re the guy who brings home the money, but you’re also a husband – and possibly also a dad. You have a duty to perform these roles adequately, and if you’re tied to your office day and night, you’re failing at probably all of them.