While there is nothing wrong with working hard, it is important to understand the risks. I found this out the hard way when I aggravated a chronic back condition because I refused to take a break.
Sometimes to better take care of your business, you have to take care of yourself first. Here are five ways working too much can be bad for your health:
1. Higher risk of depression. A study published in PLoS ONE notes that those who work 11 or more hours per day more than double their risk of a major depressive episode.
Not only will depression impact your performance at work, but it also will affect your personal life.
WebMD has some suggestions for people suffering from depression, including getting in a routine, exercising and getting enough sleep, and setting goals that can be realistically accomplished.
2. Too much sitting still. One hour after the next, you find yourself sitting at a desk either in your home office or rented space. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you realize your lack of movement can be linked to everything from obesity to heart disease.
Options to help include using a standing desk or an exercise ball instead of a chair, which will help strengthen your core muscles. Take hourly breaks, stretch or move in place and walk around when you’re on a conference call.
3. Lack of sleep. Are you getting your eight hours? According to the National Sleep Foundation, a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep each night will help you think and function at your peak performance.
More sleep will often equal better focus and higher quality work. Which includes giving yourself some mental and physical wind-down time, and getting your mind off your worries.
4. Stress, stress, and more stress. The Mayo Clinic says that approximately 25 percent of people consider work to be the primary stressor in their life. From day to day customer responsibilities to monitoring the cash flow of your business, there is always something to stress you out.
Stress can have a serious impact on your mental and physical well being.
The American Psychological Association has some tips to help. They suggest tracking your stressors to help develop healthy responses, instead of drinking alcohol and overeating. Establishing boundaries, taking time to recharge and learning how to relax are very important.
5. Eye trouble. Depending on your job, you may spend many hours every day staring at a computer screen. Over time, this can impact your health. According to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, up to 90 percent of computer users experience some type of vision trouble, including but not limited to headaches and blurred vision.
The next time you get the urge to work through the night, remember that putting in too many hours can be bad for your health. It may also mean diminishing returns, as working too long can lead to poor decisions and mistakes.
C/Net compiled some suggestions to reduce computer eye strain, such as adjusting your computer monitor’s position, tweaking your lighting, and employing the “20/20 rule,” where every 20 minutes, you find an object about 20 feet away and stare at it for 20 seconds to exercise your eyes and give them a break.
When you own a business, it’s not easy – or possible - to go home early or take a break. You want to do everything in your power to succeed. But part of that is being mindful of when you’re doing more harm than good.
About the author:
Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll provides payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll compiles data from small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Scorecard optimism survey, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation's "micro businesses" — those with 1-10 employees. You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe.
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