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How many times has ‘just one more email’ kept you late in the office? 
Or a few niggly jobs that ‘just need to be done’ had you working on a weekend? 
How about your lunch break… When was the last time you took your full one of those? 
It might only feel like a couple of minutes here and there. But, with 60% of people saying they work longer hours than they want and 1 in 4 saying they overwork by 10 hours or more a week (CIPD) it’s clear these minutes can add up quickly. 
So, why do we feel the need to do all these extra hours? What is the impact to our body and mind of overworking? And what can we be doing to take the pressure off? 

Common ways to justify overworking 

Whether you’re your own boss or are part of a bigger team, you’re probably justifying the few extra hours here and there for one of the following reasons: 
We’re understaffed: “I have to finish this quickly because if I don't, no one else will.” 
It’s just the company culture: “Everyone else stays late. It’s a competitive industry and I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity.” 
Putting the pressure on ourselves in a perfectionistic way: “I need to prove to myself or to others that I am successful and/or of worth” 
Pleasure vs necessity: Struggling to find the line between “I do this because this is what I love” and “I do this to get paid”. 

So what! What’s the impact of overworking? 

As with many things, the impact of overworking affects your body as well as your mind. When you regularly find yourself overworking and rack up the overtime hours, you might find yourself… 
Having trouble maintaining a work-life balance 
Suffering with the “Sunday scaries” and regularly feeling anxious about work 
Procrastinating a lot and struggling to get motivated 
Feeling very busy but not productive 
Struggling with high stress levels 
Feeling burnt out 
Experiencing headaches or migraines 
Feeling tired and like you’re running on empty all of the time 
Being a lot more negative about work or life than you used to be 
Struggling to switch off during breaks or at the end of the day 
Which is why trying to stop is important for our emotional, mental and physical health otherwise we can turn to negative coping strategies that only put a plaster over the bigger problem e.g using painkillers, higher junk food consumption, infrequent exercise, higher alcohol consumption We can end up feeling exhausted, hopeless, angry, become brittle to know, become isolated and our stress levels can lead to serious medical problems as well. 

So, are there ways to increase productivity and cut down on the hours I’m working? 

Overworking might feel like one of those things that just happens and can’t be prevented, but there's many tips and tricks you can use to remind yourself to take breaks and increase productivity so the pressure isn’t on to stay late. 
To save you time and make you more efficient you might consider outsourcing some work to a Personal Assistant. They’re far more affordable and flexible than hiring a full time member of staff and are great at saving you more money than you will be paying for their time. 
To make your work more productive you might consider using tools like pomofocus to help you manage your time better and give your brain the recovery time it needs in order to be more focused. 
To remind you of the boundaries you set when you’re most likely to cross them you might consider setting diary reminders for important breaks in your day. This might include blocking out your lunch break every day so clients can’t book calls during that time, adding a 10 minute buffer after every meeting or Zoom you have or even setting a reminder for that 5:05 bus you keep missing. 
For more information on these top tips, hop on over to our Instagram page where Sarah Emotional Therapeutic Counsellor, Corporate Consultant and NLP Coach (the director here at True Freedom) shares her 3 Top Tips for small business owners to save time & avoid burnout
Overworking is such an easy habit to fall into - so easy in fact that many of us fall into it without even noticing. If you’re finding that work is starting to eat into your personal life and you’d like to find out more about regaining that balance, get in touch with a member of the team today. We’d love to hear from you. 
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