When you have a massive or pressing deadline looming at work, it can be tempting to pull an all-nighter to get some work done. The problem is, this method isn’t guaranteed to help you finish the project any faster or more productively. Sometimes, working too long can negatively impact your productivity.
Working Too Long Tires Your Brain
Working too long harms your productivity because your brain begins to get fatigued when you work for long periods without a break. When your brain is tired, the work it produces is often of lower quality. You will likely begin to work slower and make mistakes that you don’t catch or notice. Not only that, it is especially bad if you are skipping sleep to work. When your mind and body are both exhausted, you won’t be able to turn out quality work at all, and you’ll probably feel horrible when you try. Give some thought to: The Rule of 52 and 17
The short burst work method is a simple yet very effective system for avoiding the fatigue that affects your productivity as well as your physiological body.
Distractions Become More Tempting
When you don’t allow yourself time to address distractions, they will only become more tempting as time passes. They will continue to take your mind away from the task at hand until you allow yourself time for them. For example, if you are working on a project and you are hungry, stop and take a break to have a snack. Suppose you don’t allow yourself a few minutes to address this distraction. In that case, your productivity will only continue to decrease until you do because you will only be able to think about how hungry you are rather than focusing on the project.
Trying To Focus When Working Too Long Actually Damages Productivity
According to Psych Central, scientists have found that productivity is damaged by working too long without breaks. Besides the fact that your brain grows more tired and distracted as you work, you will also produce less valuable work the longer you work without a break. Several factors contribute to this, including how quickly someone can move and think decreases once they work past a certain length of time. Lower quality of work means lower productivity.
Overall, while it can be tempting to believe that you will get more done if you work more hours, this isn’t always the case. The human brain needs breaks to rest and address distractions to keep it productive. Therefore you should avoid working for long periods and instead work for shorter, more productive blocks of time.
I found this very informative video on Youtube titled: 7 Signs You’ve Been Working Too Long and NEED to Take a Break We often don’t pay attention to the ‘warning signs’ that our body gives us when we’ve been working too long and a bit of rest and relaxation is necessary.
I’ve included a transcript of the entire video (below), kindly provided by Google and Youtube, so that you can quickly skim through the main points of the video’s content if you prefer to read.
I’m Ally and today I’m going to share with you my top signs that you’ve been working too long and need to take a break.
You see with today’s demanding grind to the bone work environment, it’s easy to get fixated on or work. I mean. How can you not? You’re a hard worker and understandably take pride in your dedication and work ethic.
It also doesn’t help that refusing to do so can mean falling behind or jeopardizing your future with the company. But the problem with these approaches is that it’s toxic and can have devastating consequences for you long term.
In fact, this approach is a surefire way to becoming fatigued burnt out and even unproductive. That’s why it’s important that you take breaks throughout the day. Breaks give you a chance to relax and regroup, so you can come back to your work, re-energized and focus to maximize these breaks.
However, you not only need to understand the best strategies for taking breaks at work, but also the warning signs that it’s time to take a break and to help you do that, I’m going to be releasing two videos back to back on this topic. Today’s video is going to reveal my top signs that you need to take a break and the second video is going to reveal my best strategies for maximizing these breaks.
And before I get started with today’s video, I’m curious to know: are you someone who finds it difficult to take breaks at work? If so, what are some of the red flags you watch out for to let you know it’s time to walk away?
I know you have some great things to share so be sure to let me know in the comments below otherwise sit back, relax and grab a drink, as I reveal my top signs that it’s time to take a break at work.
Sign number one physiological symptoms.
Have you noticed that you’ve been getting headaches throughout the day? Maybe you’ve been experiencing some tension in your jaw or shooting pain in your shoulders. If so, then it may be a warning that you need to step away from your desk and take a break. You see when you devote a long period of time to focusing on a task, especially one that ties you down to a desk all day, it’s natural for our bodies to experience some tension in your head or upper back area.
And although it’s easy to shrug these experiences off as something temporary or minor, these symptoms can quickly evolve and start to obstruct our ability to perform at full capacity. That’s why, when you start to notice these physiological symptoms creeping up on you, you need to treat it as if your body is sending you a message that it’s time to take a break.
So if you’re experiencing any physiological symptoms from headaches and migraines to eye strain or upper back pain, then it may be a sign that you need to take a break.
Sign number two. You crave caffeine. This may surprise some of you, but I found that the desire to consume caffeine is a huge indicator that you need to take a break from your work. I mean think about it. When do we usually want to drink coffee in the morning or afternoon right? This is where we’re the most exhausted and need that quick hit of caffeine to focus and make it through the rest of the day, so take advantage and treat this desire to have some coffee, tea or even an energy drink as a sign. That is time to get up and take a break.
Sign Number three: You’re disorganized. You’ve probably heard the phrase you’re a product of your environment right. Well, there’s some truth to that statement, especially when it comes to your work. You see when you get into a workflow, you’re so focused that all of your attention is dedicated towards producing the best work possible.
The last thing you’re thinking about is where or how you place things on your desk and before you know it, you have boxes of paper, stacked up and every office supply known to man scattered across your desk. This might not seem like a big deal, but what you might not realize is that your thoughts are becoming just as jumbled and disorganized as the desk you’re doing work on. And this is because you’re unconsciously emulating your environment, that’s why several experts emphasize over and over again, that organization is key to being productive. So if you start to notice your desk area becoming messy, then this may be a telltale sign that you’ve been working too long and need to take a break.
Sign number four: Make zero progress. Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to write something up and can’t for the life of you figure out what it is you’re trying to say. Search online, you ask a colleague but nothing sticks. This is something I can relate to and it’s extremely frustrating. You’re wasting hours of your time to get absolutely nowhere and to make matters worse, whether it’s from the stress at all or just pure stubbornness, you refuse to move on until you figure it out.
Now it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that this is unproductive, so something I tell my clients to do is to start treating this as a sign to walk away and take a break.
You’re obviously getting nowhere, and frustration is only going to add to your stress; so learn to associate zero progress with taking a break. It gives you a chance to clear your head and more often not give you the answer you’re searching for to begin with.
Sign number five. You can’t concentrate. Concentration is a key component to performing well at any test. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, then that if you can’t concentrate. Then you need to take a break.
People who can’t concentrate are more likely to forget what they’re supposed to do and are more likely to make errors as a result. These are also people who easily get distracted by their phones and social media.
So if you start to notice that you’re forgetting things more often, your mind, goes blank when someone speaks to you or you’re quick to go on to facebook, whenever you receive a notification, then it may be an indicator that you’ve been working too long and need to take a break.
Sign, number, six: You’re, more irritable when you’re feeling crunched for time or pressure to perform. Well, it’s understandable why someone would feel a little on edge. The problem is that these feelings can quickly work against you. If you choose to ignore them, you see people who are more irritable, tend to be more patient when things move slowly and are more likely to snap at others when mistakes occur.
So if you notice you’re becoming annoyed easily or losing your temper over small problems, then it may be a tell-tale sign that it’s time to take a break.
Sign number seven: Your inner critic appears. Have you ever made a mistake and have that little voice in the back of your head start criticizing you for doing something so stupid? Now, don’t get me wrong. There is a time and place to listen to this voice, but it’s not when you’ve been staring at a computer screen for hours on end. After a while this negative self-talk can lower your self-esteem and hamper your ability to perform well.
So if you start to notice your inner critic coming out whenever you make a mistake or do any of the signs that I listed earlier, then you need to view it as a red flag.
That is time to take a break, and there you have it. My top signs that you’ve been working for way too long and need to take a break.
Be proactive and alert about these key signs and you’re gonna be masters at knowing when it’s the best and most productive time to take a break. Now I found that people who struggle to take breaks are more likely to experience work, fatigue and burn out on a regular basis. If this is something you’ve been experiencing, then I strongly suggest you watch this video next, where I reveal my top tips for reducing burnout at work. And before you go, If you enjoyed this video, then make sure to like, subscribe and hit that notification bell right there. It helps me get my videos out there and let you know when I release new content. Otherwise it’s been fun having you today until we drink again. Take it easy bye.