How to Work Less and Get More Done Back »

Are you one of those people who clocks more than 55 hours per week on the job? If so, you may be interested in knowing that a new study from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours. In fact, productivity drops off so much after 55 hours, there is no point in working any more.

If you need help to try to shut down work and find the balance you need to pay attention to other important parts of your life, here are some ideas from Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0:

  • Disconnect electronically. Making yourself available 24/7 exposes you to a constant barrage of stessors that prevent you from refocusing and recharging. If you just can’t go all weekend, try designating specific times when you are off to check emails and respond. Limit that time.
  • Schedule chore time. Weekend or days-off chores can literally take over you free time at home. To prevent putting in a 7-day workweek due to chores, allot a chunk of time for them, and if you don’t finish, move it to the next time off to finish.
  • Exercise. Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes release GABA, a neurotransmitter that reduces stress. Exercise is also a great time to reflect on your business and come up with new ideas. Sometimes just being outdoors sparks creativity.
  • Pursue a Passion. Things like music, reading, writing, painting or even playing catch with your kids can help stimulate different modes of thought and help you rejuvenate. A bonus would be the extra time this can allow you to spend with family.
  • Wake up at the Same Time. As tempting as it sounds to sleep in, you end up feeling groggy and tired if you disrupt your normal wake-up time. Go to bed earlier if you want, but getting going for some “me” time in the morning will far outweigh the luxury of sleeping in. Your mind achieves peak performance 2-4 hours after you wake up, so take advantage of a physical activity, followed by some mental stimulation in the morning.

Finding creative ways to spend your off-work hours gives you an incentive to shut-down from a job and look forward to other parts of your life.

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