Before launching into the professional world, you may have heard stories about company employees, everyone from executives to the CEO, getting caught up in a 60, 70, or even 80-hour work week. You say to yourself, “How’s that possible?” Then you break into the world of business and discover crazy long work weeks are the norm.

While it’s tempting to rely on caffeine more than natural sleep and stay at the office long after the boss leaves, you’ll eventually hit a wall. Let’s take a look at why it’s better to call it a day than to keep burning the midnight oil.

Rest to be Productive

It goes against everything you’ve ever been told about getting ahead. Productivity comes from work, work, and more work, right? Not according to science. Recent studies are showing the importance of rest in improving our levels of productivity. Let’s break this down from the short every-day break to lengthy vacations.

During the Work Day

Most of us are stuck at a desk. Even those of us who are lucky enough to work from home are still glued to a laptop. Think the best way to get things done involves working until it’s time to go home? As tempting as it might be to work throughout the day without stopping, you’re actually making yourself less productive.

Studies show that the average person can sustain a workload for about 60 minutes, give or take depending on the person. Using 60 minutes as a mile marker, this should be followed up with a break that lasts around 15 minutes.

This is going to vary from person to person. Some studies have highlighted 52 minutes of work and 17 minutes of rest as being ideal. Others have shown that 90 minutes of rest followed by a 25-minute break worked great. Experiment and see what works best for you but use 60-on and 15-off as a guideline.

Weekends and Vacations

What happened to the weekend? We all used to look forward to the weekend, but now it seems to have blended into the work week as more and more of us sacrifice R&R time, thinking we are getting more accomplished. The reality is that without proper rest, we burn out, and productivity drops. Science has plenty to say about this.

Studies show that chronic burnout caused from long hours at the office and not taking advantage of breaks during the day and weekend, actually hurts your productivity. In other words, you become worse at your job, the company loses money, and you’re miserable. The longer you do this, the worse it gets.

As tough as it might be, take advantage of your weekends and vacations, you’ll enter the office on Monday feeling more productive. And your sanity will thank you.

Over-Worker or Relaxer: Which Group Do You Belong To?

Do you take full advantage of every change to have a break? Or are you in the office before everyone arrives and after everyone leaves? Think the research will change how you work? Let me know in the comments below!

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