Have you ever thought about the optimal hours that you should be working in a week?
But there are lots of people out there who have to work 70 hours a week or more. According to the research, productivity falls after the working span of 50 hours per week and there is a drop off after 55 hours.
Also not taking one day break can lower hourly output. This shows the clear evidence that putting more hours doest equate to more productivity.
So for how many hours you should work in a week to stay healthy and more productive? Well, keep reading the article to find out more.
What Are The Ideal Hours For Working Per Week?
Understanding what is the ideal hours for working per week is crucial to keep yourself healthy and improve your productivity.
Knowing how the correct hours are can also help in keeping yourself safe from the common but serious health issues that are caused by working too long.
According to a study conducted by Laura Vanderkam who is a time management expert. Well, the study was for determining how many hours of work affect the time you have.
There were 900 people included, the average person worked for around 8.3 hours per day.
There was only a one-hour difference between those who either felt they have a lot of time in hand and who felt time-pressured.
Well those who thought they had the least time, they took 8.6 hours a day to complete the work. But those who thought they had more time worked for 7.6 hours.
To not feel time-starved, the working hours for a day should be 7.6 hours as it becomes 38 hours per week. But some other research also shows that it can be 40 hours per week too.
The ‘ Ideal’ hours might depend on person to person, there are different reasons that make it not so ideal case. Here are what you need to know
One Size Does Not Fit Everybody
There might be an inconvenience but there are chances that the ideal workweek might don’t even exist.
According to Christopher Barnes who is an associate professor at the University of Washington says that there is no good answer that can tell how many hours a person should work ideally.
The numbers can be just thrown at everyone because it’s not possible to match. There are different contextual nuances that can alter the hours.
It is based on each person and their requirements, it can be pressure or different abilities which can increase or decrease the hours.
Quality Is Important Than Quantity
The reasons why the numbers can differ are because of the key factors like work intensity and social environment.
Also, the hours are not important if the quality is not improved. What kind of quality you are doing plays a huge role in mental health and wellbeing.
Perfect Working Balance
Finding the right balance of work is crucial. It might not differ much but there is some work that makes a positive difference.
Doing a bit of something between the working hours can improve mental health and well-being.
Too Much Working Is Unhealthy
However, there is one thing for sure that working too much is not good for health as well as mind.
Working more than 40 hours a week can be bad for people. There are lots of countries that accept the 40 hours as standard.
Also, the research shows that working over 48 hours is generally not good for one’s health.
What does Science & Research say?
There are various organizations along with independent research that did their work to find out how working more than 40 hours a week working affects the person. The research was done to understand the effect on mental, physical, and emotional. And here are what says :
Those who are working more than 10 hours a day, they have a 60% jump in risk of having issues regarding cardiovascular.
There is little productivity drop that happens after 50 hours per week.
10% of people who work more than 50 to 60 hours have problems in their relationships which increased to 30% for those who work more than 60 hours.
Those who work more than 40 hours tend to have a higher consumption of alcohol and tobacco. This increases the chances of having depression for both men and women.
Individuals who work more than 11 hours or overtime have chances of depression.
The increase in working hours also increases the rates of injury. The rate goes if a person works more than 60 hours per week, they have 23% higher in industry rate.
The 10 % increase in overtime resulted in 2.4 % productivity in manufacturing industries.
The productivity declined by 25 % in white-collar jobs when the employees worked more than 60 hours.
The higher chances of having hormonal disbalances, especially stress raise cortisol increases to longer working hours.
So, What You Need?
Well to make sure that you are using your hours well, it’s important to have a routine.
It impacts your creativity, happiness, and career too.
A study says that more than 40% of daily actions are powered by habits. This means, your subconscious mind can be working for you or against you.
To become the best version of yourself, and make sure that you are being productive without extending the working hours. You need to make your own working routines for effective results.
But, why follow the routine in the first place? Well here are some points that might help:
Prioritize What Is Important
When you make the schedule for your day, you are telling yourself what is important and what is not for you.
When you keep doing it, you can easily decide what is your priority and what is not. It also helps in making the right choices.
It’s important to understand what is distracting you every day and with the routine, you can find the reason. With this, you will know what you are doing that distracts you.
When you have your daily schedule, you know when something is taking your attention away from it.
Saving Energy For Important Tasks
The human mind conserves energy, that’s why 40% of actions are driven because of the habit.
The more you have automated your thing for each day, the better energy and mental space you are saving for the important work.
Boost The Creativity Level
The routine helps you in reducing stress which allows your mind to think clearly. Also, it frees up the space to bring more ideas and do experiments.
With this, you can boost creativity.
Best Working Routines For You To Bring Effective Results
The first thing you should remember here is that it’s important that what works for others will do the same for you.
Routine is personal, it should be based on what you are approaching and aim. That’s why it’s crucial to pick what resonates with you the most.
Try new things and see if that works for you or not. The key point here is to create consistent and regular patterns for your day.
This will help you in saving your hours and avoiding overtime. And for that here is how you can start :
Wakeup Little Earlier Than Usual
There is a reason why successful people wake up early in the morning. When you wake up earlier than others, you get more hours in hand to plan your day.
Also, you can take action faster than anyone. You can spend such hours doing important and meaningful projects. Or you can spend time with family to help you stay motivated and focused throughout the day.
But when you are waking up earlier, there are few considerations that you need to understand :
Getting early doesn’t mean sacrificing sleep. You have to go early to bed to make sure that you are taking your needed sleep. Lack of sleep can cause more harm to you and your productivity.
It’s important to be consistent with the time when you wake up. Well, it’s for the body to develop the habit and make it natural.
Do not hit the snooze but have the alarm to wake up if you are oversleeping. But make sure you are waking up to turn it off before the second sound rings.
Start Your Day With Positive Mindset
Well, productivity suffers when you have a whole lot of baggage from the previous day. What happened, it’s already gone.
If you somewhat miss your previous deadline or failed to achieve goals. Let it go, and don’t take it with you to your next day.
Start your day with a positive mindset, and the thought of using every single minute for something that you want to do.
What makes your day good or bad is not the events but the responses.
Make Your Bed
However, it’s not the biggest change but making your bed is one of the highly recommended routines by successful people out there.
The small acts help you in achieving the higher goals. Well by making your bed, gives youa sense of accomplishment that boosts your motivation.
Set Your Intention & Tone
There might be evidence of those days when you are doing nothing but reacting to others. Such days are scattered and your focus is everywhere.
Approaching your day without the purpose can consume the important hours without any results.
To make sure you are getting the best effective results, you need to control the narrative of your day first.
And that’s why you need to set the tone and intention first. For this, you need to write the most important tasks that you must achieve by the end of the day.
This will hold your focus throughout the day and you know what you need to do.
Avoid The Emails In The Morning
The stat says that more than 55% of people check their emails as soon as they wake up. And same goes for social media too.
When you do that, you are giving your important hours to someone else and prioritizing them over you.
It can take your attention away and make you feel disturbed throughout the day. For example, you checked your social media in the morning and saw the post regarding your friends, maybe they are in crisis or something but it will hold your attention there.
It also makes your state of mind bad.
Pro tip: Instead of using your morning for doing journaling, reading books, exercise, etc to make you feel light and concentrated.
Mentally Prepare For The Day
You don’t know what your day will turn out but when you visualize your day and prepare your mind, you are training yourself to prepare for anything.
Do meditation to make your mind more focused, relax and calm throughout the day.
Close your eyes and imagine what you want to excel in. Visualize yourself being the best version of yourself and detail it.
Pro Tip: If you can’t see yourself or find it hard to visualize, use the pen and paper to write it down. Make sure you are specific and detailed.
Eat The Frog
It means doing the hardest thing first as your energy is it’s on best as well as highest.
You have ebbs and flows of energy on regular terms. Throughout the day, your focus and productivity keep changing.
According to research, people are least productive after they had lunch or around 1: 30 pm.
However, the time slots can change based on individuals. There are some people who feel energetic in the morning and that’s why it’s the perfect time to tackle the most nagging work that is making your schedule heavy.
Follow The Batching
Batching builds the idea of working only on one kind of task at a time. Instead of jumping from one to another, you focus on doing one kind of work in given hours.
This is important to make sure that you have the production flow and keep your focus.
You might be having lots of work, maybe you are a product manager or desire or maybe developer. But you have a variety of work to handle.
According to Wharton, the research says the companies however employ around 80% which leaves fewer hours for the employees to complete their work.
Also, the brain requires a certain time to readjust the focus and to be productive. So every time you get distracted by doing something else. Your mind takes around 15 or more minutes to get back on its previous form.
If you are doing it four times a day. You will end up losing an hour.
Pro Tip: Keep your work aside and focus on one thing at least for 90 minutes. When you are doing this, make sure you are not doing anything else.
Take More Breaks
It’s important to take breaks so you can maintain your focus and give the rest to your mind as well as your body.
When you keep working without the breaks, you might end up being the least productive and tired.
According to a study, human bodies keep changing their energy levels. It’s called Ultradian Rhythms.
Ultradian Rhythm is a recurrent period or cycle that keeps repeating throughout your day. These are alertness of 90 to 120-minute sessions that your mind requires before the break.
As Nathanial Kleithman, a sleep researcher, says that the mind craves the break after 90 minutes of intense work.
When the body wants to rest, it starts to use the energy which is restored so it can keep up.
This releases the stress hormones as an extra kick of energy for the body.
To best, you can use the Pomodoro technique to keep your energy level high and also forcing you to take breaks
Here is how you can do it :
- Choose your task. Make sure you are picking one.
- Set your timer for 25 minutes.
- Work until you get the timer rings or notifications. Then check mark your tracker.
- Now take a five-minute rest.
- When the rest period is over, go back to work for the next 25 minutes.
- Keep repeating this at least three more times, and you will get the 15 minutes break.
Pro Tip: Instead of following other resting hours, you can make one for yourself. Listen to your body and it will tell you when you need the rest. But make sure you are taking breaks at least after 90 minutes.
Set The Theme Of Your Week
To make sure that you are doing the important works, theme your week. It helps you not overwork and overload your brain.
Choose your days and decide what you are going to do that day. For example, on Monday you can focus on Management, Tuesday on products, etc.
It’s helpful as even if you have to handle something that takes your day, at least you will be able to get the work done related to the theme.
The method is followed by lots of popular and successful people. For example, Jack Dorsey, the founder of Square and Twitter. He managed his three companies at the same time and didn’t get too overwhelmed.
He put the different tasks for his different days of the week.
Learn The Deep Breathing
Well, it’s obvious to take a breath, however, learning how to take deep and full breaths is important.
According to researchers, 70% of the toxins are released through your lungs in the body. The full breathing works as a powerful and natural detoxifier.
This one is highly recommended by Tony Robbins as his ten-day challenge. You are required to take the power breath three times, using the ratio of 1- 4 – 2.
Here is how you can do it :
- Inhale it for 5 seconds
- Hold it for 20 seconds
- Exhale in 10 seconds.
- And repeat this for X 10 times.
With this, you help your body in bringing energy and make your mind healthy as well as less stressed.
Add Productive Food
There are numerous things you can add to make your day more productive. Also to make sure that you are using the hours well, so you don’t waste the time.
It also depends on what you eat, as your diet plays a vital role. The food you take affects your brain function which helps in making it easier or harder to achieve your goal. However it depends on what you are consuming.
According to the research, the brain operates between when you have 25 grams approx. glucose. This releases slowly to help the brain to work optimally.
There are numerous foods that have positive effects on your mind as well as your body. It includes :
- Dark Chocolate
- Raw carrots
Drink 9 – 13 Cup Of Water
Around 75% of people in America are not drinking the needed water they should be.
When you don’t consume water enough, you can suffer from frequent headaches, feeling tired, lower stamina and strength.
This makes it hard for you to follow your routine, eventually leading to a drop in productivity and increasing the working hours.
That’s why it’s important to consume enough water to keep yourself hydrated all the time. However, how much water you should take depends on several factors.
For women where 9 cups of water are recommended, the men should drink at least 13 cups.
Pro Tip: To make sure that you have enough water, get a bottle or something where you can keep water with you all the time. Drink a glass of water in the morning to start a fresh and hydrated day.
Create Your Shut Down Ritual
Understanding how to control your days and hours to get an effective result is not easy. It takes time and even some days will be not in your control.
It’s okay to feel upset as things didn’t go as you thought they would be.
That’s why you should create your shut-down ritual. This will help you in creating the sense of everything in your control. It will also improve positiveness and productivity by claiming your brain.
The shutdown ritual or closing ritual is a setting that you design for yourself. It tells you when you need to stop working. It’s important to follow it every day.
You can plan your next day here, so you know what to expect tomorrow.
Apart from this, there are few more elements that you can add :
- Write your to-do list for the next day
- Reflect on what you did today and write it down in a journal.
- Clean your desktop, close the tabs
- Set your clothes for what you will wear tomorrow.
Do The Exercises Regularly
Well, it’s obvious that exercise is good for health. But for a productive week, you need to make sure you are doing it regularly.
When you do the exercise daily, it helps in slowing down the neurogenesis which keeps more brain cells as you age.
It also helps in keeping your energy stable to do your task that you have planned for a day.
- It makes you feel happy, motivated and you can work more.
- Also, it boosts to improve your focus and keep it for a longer period.
- Well to make sure you are doing it well, here are few rules :
- Do exercise for at least 20 minutes.
- Make sure you are doing it every day.
- The rule is too consistent over the long term. So don’t worry about perfection here.
Get Your Sleep
That’s no brainer but it’s surprising to see how many people sacrifice their sleep to complete the work.
However when you do that you are not just harming the body but also reducing your productivity as your mind gets tired and focuses less.
When you are not sleeping enough, it affects your ability to retain the information, mood, and judgments.
As for the long-term effect, you can suffer from obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.
To make sure you are having a healthy sleep here are few points :
- Coffee should be limited, don’t take too much caffeine as it will affect your sleep.
- Add food that can help you in getting good sleep for your late day, it can be potatoes, oatmeal, and bananas.
- Keep your room dark when you are going to sleep.
- Don’t use any kind of technology when you are in bed.
- You can use the white noise machine or earplugs so you can cut the noises from outside