The new normal has greatly changed the face of work. As several businesses have closed, the ones that managed to stay afloat have transitioned to remote work, placing their employees in a unique work set up, which is unfamiliar to most, if not all.
And with it, comes the challenges of remote work, including working long hours. Because, since people are working from home, can’t they work longer more conveniently? In the struggle between an employee’s productivity and sustainability, what are the ways can people effectively find a balance? Keep on reading to learn more.
- 1. Look for shortened versions of self-care strategies.
- 2. Create habits to avoid being overburdened and distracted, which can lead to undue stress.
- 3. Look for ways to incorporate personal enjoyment experiences.
- 4. Keep extras of necessary things on hand to relieve unnecessary stress.
- 5. Take a step back if you’re having trouble seeing the big picture.
Working Long Hours? Here’s How You Can Survive and Thrive in the New Norm
It’s a mixed bag when it comes to working long hours. Working hard will help you achieve your goals. You learn skills and knowledge quickly, and the grit grows. Working hard can be really satisfying if you respect and enjoy what you do.
On the other hand, you will burn out, hurt your relationships, and make bad job decisions if you don’t give yourself a chance to step back and see the big picture. Prioritizing work also means deprioritizing other aspects of one’s life, including one’s wellbeing.
Listed below are some strategies that can help you work long hours (at least for some time) and still feel happy and healthy.
1. Look for shortened versions of self-care strategies.
Don’t have time for a 40-minute meditation? Every time you go to the toilet, try taking a few deep, mindful breaths.
No time to go to the gym? Try taking the stairs if you have the chance.
Do you lack the energy to attend a yoga class? Learn how to do some yin yoga (restorative) poses at home. Do one pose for five minutes every evening as your dinner is microwaving.
You don’t have time to cook? Find healthier but yet delicious versions of pre-made meals. Find something simple and nutritious, such as adding an avocado to a frozen burrito.
2. Create habits to avoid being overburdened and distracted, which can lead to undue stress.
When you’re busy, you can begin to behave in ways that add unnecessary stress to your life, such as rushing and missing something important. Routines can help to avoid this.
For example, if you only have a small amount of time to devote to relationships, your romantic partner can become grumpy. To prevent this, you might make it a habit to leave your phone in your entryway and give your partner ten minutes of your undivided attention when you come home from work.
Try using a checklist, particularly if you have children, to help you remember what you need to do each morning. Include things that apply to particular days of the week, such as days when your children need gym attire.
Once you’ve developed a routine, you can refine it, which you can’t do if you don’t have one to begin with.
Often, consider what you need to do in the evenings to relieve morning tension, such as laying out your clothing, packing your lunch, or charging your computers.
3. Look for ways to incorporate personal enjoyment experiences.
There are sped-up versions of fun sports, just as there are sped-up versions of self-care. Here are some ideas for incorporating pleasure into a hectic schedule:
Choose solutions that are less likely to result in bingeing and staying up late. Podcasts, for example, can be a better option than television. Small behavioural changes can have a big impact.
Routines, such as getting fixed times to see friends so that you don’t have to plan meet ups, which takes time and energy, can also help. If your job is unpredictable, you will need to change your plans, but by planning ahead of time, you are more likely to be able to have the time closed off and plan around it.
Note: It is important to know yourself well. For example, you might be aware that meeting friends for an after-work drink on a Friday feels nurturing despite your busy schedule, while having people over for dinner feels too stressful.
4. Keep extras of necessary things on hand to relieve unnecessary stress.
To avoid threats to your self-care, keep extra snacks and clothing at work. For example, you could keep a pair of sneakers at work so you can go for a lunchtime walk without having to remember to bring them with you.
Have extras of objects that are prone to wandering, such as chargers or charging cords.
Have a spare of something you depend on that is likely to break at some stage. Things related to your pleasure/self-care are included. Extra headphones, for example.
When you’ve worked long hours, the last thing you’ll want to do is go to the store because you’ve run out of a single item, such as pain relievers or toilet paper. Maintain an inventory of everything that would necessitate a trip to the supermarket right away if you ran out.
5. Take a step back if you’re having trouble seeing the big picture.
Working long hours can often lead to ineffectiveness, particularly if you continue to grind away when what you really need to do is mentally step back and gain perspective on what you’re doing.
Recognize when this occurs and take a full day or weekend off every now and then.
Even minor changes in your routine can help you mentally step back and gain perspective, particularly if they include opportunities to communicate with new people or being in a new physical environment. For the latter, it might be as easy as going to a movie by yourself after work if that’s something you’d never do otherwise.
Many of us require (or desire) to work long hours for extended periods of time. There will still be an opportunity cost of doing this, but there are ways to minimize the risk of overworking. Working long hours can become easier to bear and less of a sacrifice if you realize the advantages of working hard and minimize stress-inducing habits (such as being distracted and missing needed things, or running late and getting a speeding ticket). Your point of view is crucial. Stress that we believe we can handle is much less dangerous than stress that we believe we cannot handle.