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Why Working Long Hours Can Deplete Our Energy Levels

ByDave Stopher

Jul 9, 2024

Putting in long hours is often seen as admirable or a sign of dedication. However, regularly working more than 40 hours per week can seriously impact our physical and mental health. Understanding why overwork drains our energy can help us set healthier boundaries.

Not Enough Time to Recharge

Our bodies and minds need time to rejuvenate after a day’s work. However, when we consistently work long hours, we do not leave enough time for quality rest and recovery. Without this downtime, our energy levels become depleted over time. 

Working long days leads to accumulated fatigue. Both our muscles and brains tire out without adequate breaks. Continuously pushing through this exhaustion eventually leads to burnout. Our performance and focus suffer when we are burnt out.

Too Much Workload in a Short Time 

Working longer than 8 hours means trying to cram more work into a shorter recovery period. This increased workload and tighter deadlines add stress to our days. Our bodies react to constant stress by producing hormones like cortisol, which can sap our energy over time. 

Trying to work productively for 12+ hours also leads to mental exhaustion. Our ability to focus and think critically decreases substantially after 8 hours of mental work. Working longer days means our brains do not get the rest they need to function optimally.

The Negative Effects of Fatigue

Fatigue impacts both our professional and personal lives. The chronic exhaustion caused by overwork can lead to:

  • Lower motivation and productivity at work
  • More irritability with coworkers and clients  
  • Increased risk of mistakes and errors
  • Worse ability to solve problems creatively
  • Deterioration in work quality 
  • Higher absenteeism and sick days

Outside work, persistent tiredness from long hours can prevent us from enjoying time with family and friends. It becomes harder to find energy for hobbies, exercise, or taking care of our health. Overall quality of life decreases.

Poor Work-Life Balance

Working extensive hours also hampers our ability to achieve a sense of balance. With little free time outside of work, other aspects of life get neglected. We miss out on bonding with loved ones, pursuing passions, and taking care of personal health.

Having no separation between work and personal time also makes it harder to disengage mentally. We continue worrying about projects even after leaving the office. Without balance, we risk burning out entirely.

Creating a Healthier Schedule

While the occasional long day may be unavoidable, and a quick fix solution like popping a couple of glucose chews from Liftglucose.com can help, regularly working 60+ hours a week will drain anyone’s energy. To maintain well-being, we need to set limits on our working hours.

Some ways to create a healthier schedule include:

  • Leaving work at a consistent time each day
  • Taking regular breaks during the workday
  • Avoiding work emails after hours 
  • Establishing clear workplace boundaries
  • Discussing workload concerns with your manager
  • Prioritising proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise
  • Making time for relaxing and social activities 
  • Practicing mindfulness techniques

Setting reasonable limits on working time benefits both employees and employers. Workers have the downtime needed to recharge and remain engaged. Companies experience less burnout and turnover. 

By understanding and respecting our human needs, we can sustain energy and thrive at work.