Studies Show Leaving Work Before 5 p.m. Boosts Productivtiy and Happiness

Before I start, I just want to make a disclaimer that I've had Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" stuck in my head the entire time I spent writing this, so I'm sorry in advance if any of my mild southern drawl happens to bleed into the writing. I'm also sorry If I just got it stuck in your head too. Just embrace it.

It's easy to get lost in the grind. Working overtime may feel like a good way to score extra points at work, but it may cost you more than you think.

Recent studies show that working more than 40 hours per week can have a negative impact on your overall work performance. Every extra hour put in is actually less productive than the last, which results in less energy the next day, which then adds negative effects to overall mental and physical health over time.

Research from the University College London shows that people who've pushed more than 55 hours a week at work are 33% more at risk of having a stroke and 13% more at risk of having heart disease than those who work 40 hours or less. This study was carried out in three different continents, so It's not just an issue that we have here in North America.

Businesswoman doing presentation in big boardroom

Something that I love about the United States is that we have a reputation for being hard working innovators. We're problem solvers by nature, and the hustle is deeply rooted in our history and culture. But I think we've gotten lost, because It feels like we've mistaken being busy for being productive.

Working more hours to get more done at work is a 20th century idea. Right now we have a infinite pool of tools and resources that we can use to work more productively in less time, and all it takes is some creativity, structure and action. No matter what you do, there will always a way to modify your routine to get more done in less time.

Also, in the 21st century, taking care of your mental health is just as important. It's a fast-paced world, and we usually fill in our free time as much as possible to stay busy or distracted. It's very common for me to remind myself to hold my horses and live a little outside of work. I've learned that getting that break is absolutely crucial. It'll always boost my productivity like crazy, because it gives me that time to breathe, self-reflect and stay in touch with who I am.

It's difficult to leave if everyone else at work is staying overtime, because you don't want to look like the only slacker in the office. I definitely wouldn't. But if working extra hours really does make you less productive, you don't have much to lose. You can be that person in the office that gets more done in less time.

So if you're feeling like you're burning out, relax, get creative, save time for yourself and show everyone how much you can get done with less.

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