Overworking is glorified in today’s day and age. It’s not uncommon to hear stories from overworked entrepreneurs that sound a little something like this: “I worked 80 hours a week, never took a vacation, and worked on the weekends. I worked while I had the flu and missed my nephew’s college graduation in order to get my business off the ground. No pain, no gain.”
It’s certainly admirable to work hard to get a new business started. However, it’s easy to fall into a trap based on a false assumption: “If you’re suffering, it’s working.” But is overworking actually beneficial or necessary when starting a new business?
To be completely honest, some personal sacrifice is likely necessary to get a business idea rolling, especially if you’re solo. You may have to work a weekend or two and move around some plans to complete the essential tasks.
That being said, there is no benefit to orchestrating your life solely around the success of your business. In fact, overworking yourself can put your personal well-being — and your business — in jeopardy.
Overworking Can Ruin Your Health
Researchers from University College London found that individuals who work more than 55 hours per week have a 13% greater risk of a heart attack. They are also 33% more likely to suffer a stroke when compared to people who work 35–40 hours per week. Workplace stress has also been shown to cause sleep deprivation for 66% of American workers.
So, that begs the question: How can you be the most effective business owner possible if you forfeit your health in the process?
The simple answer is that you can’t. No matter how important your work may seem, it’s still essential to make time for proper health activities. You need restful sleep, healthy eating, and frequent exercise. In one study, “sick” workers who drastically improved their health over the course of a year increased their personal productivity by 10.8%. In other words, by making your health a priority, you are investing in your business.
Overworking Can Ruin Your Relationships
According to the American Stress Institute, 54% of workers report that workplace stress has a negative impact on their home lives. Additionally, 76% report that workplace stress has a negative impact on their personal relationships.
When it comes to marriage, the statistics are even more distressing. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte conducted research on couples where one spouse was considered to be a “workaholic.” They found that women with workaholic husbands reported feelings of emotional withdrawal and marital estrangement. They were far more likely to get divorced (55% divorce rate) than the wives of non-workaholics (16% divorce rate).
No job — not even the dream job of running your own business — is worth losing family and friends. That’s why it’s important to prioritize spending time with your loved ones. Make room to celebrate special events and milestones in their lives. If that means taking a weekend trip or an evening off, it’s worth it.
Overworking Decreases Productivity
Did you know that happy people are 12% more productive than unhappy people? And that’s a conservative estimate! Researchers also found that taking breaks and time away from work improved people’s capacity for creativity and problem-solving. So, contrary to conventional wisdom, taking the time to enrich your life also enriches your business, whether you realize it or not.
The truth is when we prioritize our health, relationships, and happiness, we’re improving our overall well-being. That means that we are sharper, more focused, and better able to do our best at work. That’s true whether you work a desk job, as a contractor, and yes — even as a small-business owner. So, make sure you are taking time to properly rest and recharge on a regular basis. Your business will thank you!