The 80-hour working week is a thing dreaded by even the most dedicated of professionals. It is, after all, the equivalent of working two weeks within the space of one. While it certainly isn’t recommended as an ongoing, regular part of your work experience, a hard week of 80+ hours may allow you to catch up on your workload and keep the stress away from the rest of your month. It is important, when you decide to do something like this, to do it right – it would be all too easy to burnout and be unproductive for most of the time or to produce sub-par work. If there’s one thing you don’t want, it’s to have to backtrack later on and fix the mistakes you made while you were too tired to think straight.
First, you will want to give a lot of consideration not just to the hours you will work in the week, but also to the number of days you will work. Working a traditional five-day week will result in you having 16-hour workdays; something you might find yourself struggling to accomplish. A 6-day week comprising a total of 80 hours would be between 13 and 14 hours a day, while a 7-day week would make that more like 11 or 12 hours per day. Those numbers are much more manageable on a day-to-day basis, but have the disadvantage of cutting into your weekend, so the choice will be down to personal preference.
But is working 80+ hours in a week healthy? Working 80 hours a week for a short period, or intermittently, may well aid you in reducing work time stress and pressure affecting your mental state by letting you get out in front of big projects or catch up quickly when you’re behind the ball. Having said that, it’s vitally important to make sure you are getting all the physical and mental stimulus you need to keep healthy while you work a heavy week – making sure you have enough sleep to feel rested, are eating full and healthy meals, and are getting enough physical exercise – these are all important factors to consider!
Ensure you have a healthy sleep schedule. Your non-working time: in particular your sleep, is important to keep good track of and make sure you are getting enough during your week. Not only is this important for your health, but also the quality of your work. You need to have set sleeping hours and shouldn’t compromise those scheduled hours. Doing otherwise will have you quickly falling out of sync with your work schedule.
The importance of regular physical activity on the health of the human body and mind is well documented. Keeping physically active during your week will have a noticeable effect on both the quality and efficiency of your work. Don’t get caught in the trap of telling yourself that you don’t have time for it: you will see that your ability to work hard and be productive because of your exercise regime will more than make up for the time you spend actually exercising.
Taking appropriate time to unwind and reset for your next task is crucial to maintaining your productivity. A rest period is not only important for maintaining your health but also for allowing you to mentally adjust when switching tasks in order to maximise your work output. You’ll quickly feel like you’re going insane if all you fill your day with is work, work, work: get some sunshine, take a walk, listen to some of your favourite tunes. Just like with getting appropriate sleep, having some time for yourself will pay off in the long term by helping you to maintain your productivity.
Ultimately, don’t make it a habit! Working extreme hours in this way is manageable once or twice, but making it a regular feature of your work life will quickly create stress and have a strong negative impact on both health and performance. Remember, there’s more to enjoying life than just work success – don’t forget to spend time with your family and get out there to enjoy the sunshine!