We know that working long hours lead to stress, anxiety, and heart disease, yet we still continue to give our jobs more of our time.  So is there a way to manage this fine balance?

Here are 3 pretty good reasons on why you should avoid working overtime:

1. It ruins your productivity

By working overtime, you give yourself the illusion of having a lot more time than you actually have.

But if you commit to leaving by a certain, reasonable time every day, it creates boundaries, and can motivate you to identify and prioritise the highest-yield work you should be doing.

2. Your quality of work decreases

Leaving work on time regularly means you get to have ‘me-time’ to do things like spending time with loved ones, relaxing, exercising and exploring other interests.

As long as you keep the work-related stress at bay when you're not at work, all of these things are going to result in an improvement of your work quality.

“While our careers are important, we need at some point to re-examine and re-evaluate our priorities and goals in life.” ~ Ms Sher-li Torrey, Founder & Director, Mums@Work

3. There is no discipline

Leaving on time but still getting your most important work done means you have to be disciplined.

It discourages procrastination which in turn, gives a positive effect on your ability to get the most important work done, which will in turn, have benefits throughout your job and life.

“Success and wealth become irrelevant if you end up burnt out from over-working.” ~ Mr Paul See, Senior Financial Services Director, PIAS

Not sure how to leave work on time? Here are 7 tips to help you:

 1. Prioritise

With so many tasks and so little time, you need to prioritise and attend to the most urgent tasks first. Even if you can’t work on the items now, you can seek help from colleagues or delegate it to someone else.

2. Focus

Cut down time-wasting activities like daydreaming or chatting on unimportant topics via Whatsapp.

To get work done faster, you need to stay focused. Write a list of tasks you need to complete by today and tick off completed items as you go along.

Ask to be excused from discussions and meetings that do not directly concern you.

“To complete everytask at work with shorter working hours was a challenge but, it made me more focused and productive, which made me achieve more than I realised I could.”~ Adeline, mother of 2 children below 5 years old.

3. Cut interruptions

A colleague who walks by to chat; a phone ringing in the background; these are just some of the things that break our concentration and make us lose our focus at work.

You can build a culture of respect and negotiate for uninterrupted time.

Schedule a time to attend to colleagues and requests and make sure you respond to them as promised.

Allocate specific time slots during the day to check and reply to emails, or check your phone mails and return phone calls.

4. Manage emergencies

Despite all the best of plans, there are bound to be last-minute emergencies and unexpected scenarios that will force you to drop everything to attend to them.

Very often, we become too focused on fire-fighting and forget to return to the previous task we had on hand until the very last minute.

You can help curb the spark that starts the fire by preparing contingency plans for specific scenarios or training staff and colleagues to help put out the fire faster.

Remember to return to the task at hand and move on once the crisis has been managed.

5. Eliminate procrastination

Speaking about wanting to get things done but never acting on it just delays the completion of the task and lowers your productivity.

Start by breaking an overwhelming task into smaller, achievable mini-tasks. Get help from your colleagues and staff to help push you forward until you complete all your milestones.

6. Ask and accept help!

If things get too overwhelming, do not be afraid to ask and accept help from your friends, family or even employer to help you better manage your work-life issues.

7. Celebrate little successes!

Don’t be too hard on yourself. When you achieve a goal you set out to do, give yourself a little treat.

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