Last Updated on August 4, 2022
Success is a difficult thing to define. It means different things for different people. What you consider successful might be different from what another person finds successful; therefore, don’t take any definition of success as the ultimate truth.
For some people, being successful means having the freedom to do whatever you want in life — whenever you want and however you want. For others, being successful might mean having a lot of money and living in a big house with fancy cars.
Regardless of what success means for you, don’t assume that working hard and putting in more hours or longer hours is the answer. But what if working hard isn’t the answer? What if other factors contribute to success, which doesn’t involve working hard? What if a philosophy that says, “don’t work so hard” is a healthier choice for you?
The following are five reasons why working long hours might not be the best solution to achieving your goals.
Don’t Work So Hard, and Be Happier
The first step in wanting to gain control of your life, have more fun, and spend time and energy doing what makes you happy is to recognize that your working hours need to change.
1 | It’s Stressful and Exhausting
We all know what stress feels like; we’ve all experienced stress at some point in our lives. Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed, anxious, and worried. It’s the sensation of having too much to do and not enough time to do it.
When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone with many adverse effects on our health. Cortisol can cause us to gain weight, have trouble sleeping, and experience anxiety and depression.
In addition to the harmful effects of cortisol, stress can also cause us to be less productive. When we’re stressed, it’s challenging to focus on anything else but our stressors. We become so overwhelmed that we can’t think straight, and we end up making more mistakes than usual.
Stress also causes us to feel tired, which is why working hard isn’t always the best solution for achieving our goals. When you’re tired, your brain can’t function properly; therefore, it’s difficult to focus and remain productive. To achieve our goals, we need to be as effective as possible — not stressed out and exhausted from working too hard.
2 | You Miss Out on Important Things in Life
Working longer hours can cause you to miss out on certain things in life — important things. When we’re focused on achieving our goals, it’s easy to forget about the other areas of our lives that need attention too.
For example, suppose you’re focused on advancing your career and becoming successful at work. In that case, it’s easy to forget about the other areas of your life, such as your health or relationships with family members and friends. You might be so tired after working long hours that you don’t want to do anything else except go home and sleep.
When you work too much, you don’t give yourself enough time to relax and enjoy life. All of your focus is invested in hard work so that one day you can achieve success; however, if we’re not careful, then we might miss out on the joys of life while waiting for our “one day” to come around.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to have any regrets. You don’t want to look back on your life and think about all the things you could have done but didn’t because of working too much.
3 | You Don’t Have Time to Rest and Recharge
In order to be productive, we need to take time for ourselves and rest. Our minds and bodies need time to recharge to continue working at our best.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about taking time for ourselves. We think that the only way to succeed is by working harder and longer, which means we need to sacrifice our time for rest.
But the truth is that rest and relaxation are just as important — if not more important— than working hard. We can’t be productive without taking a break from work now and then. If we don’t give ourselves a chance to recharge, we’ll eventually reach our breaking point, and we’ll no longer be productive.
Our sleep will be interrupted, our relationships will suffer, and we’ll be much more likely to make mistakes at work. Even though it might seem counterintuitive, resting is an important part of achieving success in the workplace.
In extreme cases of overworking and not giving yourself a break, sleep deprivation can be the result. And that, my friend, causes us to experience all sorts of unfortunate side effects, such as mood swings and severe mental fatigue.
Sleep deprivation can cause some pretty severe consequences if it goes on for too long. If you feel like you’re sleep-deprived, here are a few problems that might be attributed to lost shuteye: an increased risk of heart disease, a decreased ability to focus, a higher risk of auto accidents, and even a raised likelihood of being obese.
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4 | You Experience Burnout
Have you ever heard someone say that they’re “burned out?” Although this phrase is often overused by people trying to get out of work for a few days, it is an actual condition.
[place link here] Burnout is defined as “a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” It’s what happens when we’ve been working too hard without taking any time off or giving ourselves breaks throughout the day — and it’s not good.
When we experience burnout, our productivity levels drop dramatically, and we’re no longer able to work at our best. We can’t concentrate on the task at hand because all of our energy is focused on getting through this moment right now. It doesn’t matter what else happens in the future — only what’s happening now matters.
Burnout can cause us to feel unmotivated, stressed, and depressed. We no longer enjoy the things we used to enjoy, and we’re no longer happy with our lives. It is a severe condition that can lead to other health problems such as anxiety and depression if left untreated for too long.
If you experience burnout, it’s important to take a step back and assess what’s going on in your life. You need to find out why you’re feeling burned out and what changes need to be made so that it doesn’t happen again.
5 | It’s a Waste of Time!
Yes, that’s right. Working too much can be a waste of time!
Let me explain…
When we work hard, we usually have a goal to achieve success at work or school. We want to get promoted or finish our degree program as quickly as possible to move on with life and do other things.
However, this can be a waste of time because we don’t always achieve those goals right away. Sometimes it takes years to get promoted or finish school, and then what do you have left? You wasted all that time working hard without enjoying life while waiting for success to come around someday (which may never happen).
And when you do get promoted or finish school, what then?
Will you continue working hard at this new job/level, hoping that one day it will all be worth it again someday in the future (which may never come)?
Or will life finally begin now that you’ve reached your goal of success? Will happiness and joy finally come into your life now that you no longer have to work so hard?
Working hard for a long time without taking any breaks can be a waste of time. We may achieve our goals, but we’re not able to enjoy the journey along the way. And when we finally reach those goals, we may find that they don’t bring us happiness after all because we spent so much time working for them and not enjoying life!
That may sound like a typical Catch-22 situation, but it’s not. We don’t have to wait for success before we can enjoy life. We can start enjoying life by taking breaks and doing things that bring us joy every day.
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Henry Ford and the 40 Hour Work Week
Automobile pioneer Henry Ford was one of the first company owners to adopt the 40 hour workweek. His theory about working less was that if he gave his employees more time off, they would have the opportunity to “enjoy life.” He believed that they would come back to work refreshed and be better workers because of it.
Henry Ford discovered that by working 5 days a week and 8 hours a day, his employees could produce more than twice as much as those working 9-hour days. He also discovered that workers turned out higher quality products because each worker’s focus was on one task alone (rather than having to switch between tasks every hour).
These discoveries were some of the factors that led to Henry Ford’s success, and his decision to implement the 40 hour workweek is still one of the reasons for Henry Ford’s success today.
Final Words: Don’t Work So Hard
Working hard is only a means to an end, not the end itself! You should work hard for a few hours or days and then take time off, whether it be going on vacation, going out with friends, reading a book, meditating in nature — anything that brings you joy.
If your goal was happiness, working hard might not be the answer, but if you want more money or a better job title, then working hard will probably help. We just have to remember that our happiness and well-being are more important than anything else in life!