Are You Working Too Much?

From the HBR. Link to original article here.

Your performance dips after an amount of time, no matter who you are. I have clients who work no longer than three hours without a half-hour break whilst I have met others who claim to go through ten hours without a gap. I wouldn’t want to be their last patient of the day.

In the same way that we can arrive at our motorway junction without being aware of passing the last three, auto-pilot does exist in every walk of life. In my full on NHS days when I was desperate for income I often reached the end of the day and only knew that I had seen some of the patients because my notes told me so. (I was always relatively good at writing notes, thanks to my house job habits). Frequently I would fall asleep doing paperwork at the end of the day or drive home and kip in the car in my drive just like the man in the photo. But I always took holidays, there was never a time after my son was born that there wasn’t at least one, usually two holidays in the book.

Now time management is one of the big things that I work on with my clients, there’s no point in being successful with no time to enjoy the benefits of success.

As an older dentist once said to me, “nobody lies on their death bed wishing they had spent more time drilling teeth”.

This article caught my eye. Especially the questions.

  • We all need to shift into high gear from time to time, but how can you tell if you are pushing yourself too hard?
  • Watch out for some of these telltale signs. When was the last time you took some time away from work?
  • Consistently putting off vacations, working over major holidays, or regularly working weekends are all signals that you’re burning the candle from both ends.
  • Another sign is deprioritizing personal relationships.
  • If your social invitations have dried up because your friends assume you’re not available, you are probably too focused on work.
  • Also, be aware of your behavior when you do take time to be with people outside of work. Are you fully present?
  • While it’s normal to think about work periodically, it becomes a problem when you’re not able to manage your urge to check your phone or respond to emails and texts right away.
  • If you see any of these signs, take some time to reflect on whether you have enough balance in your life.
  • After all, being too wrapped up in work isn’t good for you or your performance.
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