Overworking Can Kill You - And We're Not Being Overly Dramatic.
Elon Musk, according to a recent Business Insider write-up, says he aged five years in 2018. Since he isn’t wine or cheese, we can agree that aging that fast probably isn’t good for you. He’s mentioned his 120-hour work weeks, lack of a substantial vacation in about two decades, and even going days without leaving his workplace. This might be the price one pays for operating one of the most innovative and lucrative businesses in the world. But is it going to kill him?
At risk of being over dramatic, we’ll mention that there have been several publicized cases of workers who were young and otherwise seemingly healthy dropping dead - and most media outlets pointed to working too hard as at least a contributing factor to the person’s demise.
Mita Diran, a copywriter working for Y&R, posted a tweet about how she had been working 30 consecutive hours and counting. Shortly thereafter she lapsed into a coma, and then died the following day. An AdAge article referencing the tragic event suggested that an energy drink might have had something to do with her death and that not many more details were made public.
But, her case is among a few high profile and dramatic cases of an employee working without proper rest or care, and ultimately dying.
Entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to overworking themselves. They don’t have a clock to punch, they don’t have vacation time or business hours. For most entrepreneurs, work is their life and their life is work.
While it is admirable that a person would dedicate their being to providing and creating a product or service, it cannot be overstated how important normal rest and a limit on working hours is. Even Elon Musk admitted as much.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested that the average private sector employee works roughly 35 hours a week. Being somewhere between the 35-40 hours per work week range is probably what you should be shooting for on most weeks.
Despite the fact that most Americans report to working in excess of 50 hours a week according to a Gallup poll, productivity is proven to fall off a cliff once you’ve crossed the 50 hour mark.
So, not only are you doing a disservice to your health, you’re probably also turning in subpar work that might need to be redone!
Overworking begets more overworking.
Now, don’t make the takeaway from this that you should limit yourself to eight hour days or else one day you’ll tweet that you’re busy and drop dead.
But, remember that your level of rest, nutrition and health can directly be linked to how productive and effective you are.
Be sure to schedule downtime for yourself, time to exercise, and time to sleep. It might seem pressing to be at the workplace every hour you’re able to, but your body does have limits. Be careful how much you’re willing to test them – it’ll end up making you a better, more productive, and happier employee (or boss!).