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Has Your Workday Gotten Longer? You’re Not Alone.

05.28.2021

Since the COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect, you may feel like you’re working more hours — and you’re probably right. Consider your workday before lockdowns. You likely worked pretty long hours, but were able to leave your office or store at a reasonable hour, go home and spend time with friends or family.

Once COVID hit, though, your life probably changed quite a bit. You may have had to work remotely or manage your staff from afar. On the other hand, if you weren’t working remotely, you had to make changes to your office or store staying in line with COVID protocols — cleaning, contactless ordering options and more. During this time, you may have worked long hours to help your business run smoothly while continuing to give customers a high level of service. In fact, some studies show many people added one to three hours to the workday.

Since things are opening back up, will this habit of working longer hours continue? Will your workday return to pre-COVID hours, or will you do more remotely? Will that save time in your day or add work hours to it? If you’re working too many hours now, what can you do to create more work-life balance?

Here are some things indicating you’re working too many hours — and how to correct them:

    • You’re gaining weight. When you work too much, you tend to forget about exercising or watching what you eat. Take time out of your day (even if only 30 minutes) to do something to better your health, such as walking around your neighborhood, doing an at-home workout program, or eating healthy snacks.
    • You’re missing important events because you’re overbooked. If you always feel like you have something going on or have to cancel activities too often with friends or family, you’re overbooked. To help eliminate this problem, you must learn to say “no” to the right people. Everyone has limits, and you need to enjoy life, not just work in it. You may also consider how you can streamline the chores you have to do regularly, like grocery shopping or cleaning the house.
    • You’re filling your free time with work. It’s essential to keep your work-life balance in check. Fill your downtime with things you enjoy outside of work. Take up a hobby or activity you enjoy. Contrary to some work cultures in our country, you don’t have to work 24/7 to get ahead.
    • You’re unable to keep your workplace organized. A little bit of clutter in your workspace is normal, but too much clutter can be a sign something’s wrong. And when you combine that with long hours and stressful workloads, you can burn out quickly. The best way to combat this issue? Throw things away, and consider hiring a professional organizer to help you set up a filing system you’ll actually use.
    • You’re angry more often. When your life is out of balance and you’re working too many hours, you may feel more emotional and lose your temper more often. Consider having an occasional “venting” session with a friend, family member, or therapist to help relieve your stress.
    • You’re not sleeping well. If you have trouble falling asleep (or you don’t sleep at all), you need to make some changes quickly. Lack of sleep can cause severe issues with your physical and mental health. Develop and stick to a sleep routine. If you need to calm your mind, consider yoga, meditation, or stretching before going to bed. Consider seeking help by speaking with a professional.

As a small business owner, you put in many hours to keep your company running smoothly. And as COVID restrictions are beginning to lift, be sure to stay in tune with the hours you work. Now’s a great time to make changes and stick to them for a better work-life balance.

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