Those of us that put in 80+ hours in any given week know that this grueling need for progress can take a toll on your body. For us, the 40 hour workweek would feel like a vacation. With the growing demand of business and the mindset of "one more day of progress," the 40 hour workweek is nearly a thing of the past. Thanks to the internet, we have more small business owners entering the economy than ever before. And if you’re on your way to growing your own business, you likely know that 40 hours a week is just not enough time. Lucky for you, there’s a few things that can get you through the week. Here’s my top five list for surviving the 80 hour workweek.
1. Energy Boosting Foods
Some of your best friends for a long workweek need to be energy boosting foods. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of foods that will naturally boost your energy. One of my favorites is salmon. Salmon contains omega 3, great for the heart and a great source for rich protein. Another energy boosting food is sardines and anchovies. Again, these two foods are rich in protein and omega 3. I know, not everyone is a fan of anchovies and sardines. What about something that tastes great? Something easier on the stomach? You bet, what about almonds? Almonds contain magnesium and B vitamins that help convert food to energy, you can easily carry them to work also. Pistachios are another energy snack you could use. They have protein, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, all great for the heart and great for energy.
2. Make an Effort to Sleep
Most of us already know that sleep is the body’s way of recharging. However, when you’re working 80 hours a week, it doesn’t leave much time for sleeping. This is exactly why you have to make an effort to get more sleep. Yes, 3-4 hours of sleep a night is better than none, but hear me out. When you don’t get proper sleep, you don’t function at 100 percent. That could lead to mistakes on your part and could cause you to make bad business decisions.. What can you do? Here are some great tips to sleeping longer.
- Try to follow a schedule - The body likes routine, it’s programmed in that manner. Try to make a schedule for sleep. By (X) time, you go to bed. Your body will get use to this. It may take a little time, but stay with the routine. You’ll find that it comes easier to fall asleep.
- Turn off that iPhone - If your brain is fully running, you’re going to have trouble falling asleep. Turn the electronics off and get to bed. No television, no computer and no distractions. Allow your brain the time needed to check out and you’ll sleep quicker.
- No lights please - Get rid of the lights. Even the dimmest of lights can cause us to have trouble sleeping. Be sure to turn them off. Put up dark curtains if you work the late shift. Your bedroom should be a dark oasis.
- Comfortable bed - If you don’t have a comfortable bed, it could be the reason you’re not sleeping. It’s well worth the investment.
- At least one more hour - If you’re only sleeping 4 hours a night, aim to sleep for 5 hours, same policy for everyone. Start by trying to sleep for an extra hour. You’ll be surprised how much this will help.
3. Make Time for Exercise
If you’re spending half the day at your desktop, you better make sure you’re getting some exercise in. If you’re not exercising, this could be the reason you’re feeling bad. Remember what I said earlier, your body is programmed to follow a routine. If you’ve become a couch potato at work behind the desk, this is what your body is remembering. It goes without saying then that your body is going to feel exhausted after 80+ hours of work. We don’t want that, so here’s some tips to get motivated and start breaking bad habits.
- Move around every hour - If you’re behind the desk or stationary while at work, take 5 minutes out of every hour to stretch or walk around. You don’t want your body in the same posture for a long time. Get up, stretch your arms, legs and back. Do a lap around the office. If you do have an awesome job where you can run around or get 30 minutes of exercise in, then go for it! Most importantly, you need to make sure you’re moving the body a few times a day.
- Before and after work - Some jobs don’t give you the luxury of moving around. If so, take a few minutes before and after work to get in some exercise. After a few weeks, your body is going to feel better and stronger and you won’t feel as tired.
4. Squeeze in a Little "Me Time"
If you’re putting in 80 hours a week, you need some time to get away. You need to get work off your mind. What will you do with the free time? Anything that makes you happy and takes your mind off the daily grind. It could be basketball, painting, walking, making videos, reading a book, watching a movie, you know what you like. Take a friend out or go on a date with your partner. The purpose is to clear your mind to refocus. 80 hours of work can take a lot out of you, getting re-energized is crucial.
Having fun is also important. It’s very easy to burn out when working so much. With all the money you’re making, I’m sure you can find something to do that doesn’t involve work.
5. Don't Take Work Home
Easier said than done, huh? Some of you may even be working from home, so here’s what I mean. Try your best to keep work at work. Period. You’re already committing a lot of time to your job. When you also decide to take work home, it can cause you problems with your home life. If you’re single then it’s not that big of a deal. However, if you have a family, they need you to commit some of your time, too. And needless to say, if you are taking work home with you, it can become an issue.
What if you’re working at home, how do you handle separating work and home? This can be tough. Again, you have to separate the two. I work 100 hours a week from home. I’ve found that having a home office is crucial to accomplishing this feat. I’m also married with children. When I’m working, I stay in the home office. When I’m done with work, I leave the office. This helps me separate my work life from my home life. Your family deserves to have some of your time, so be sure to give it to them.
Working 80 hours a week is tough. It can drain us mentally, emotionally and physically. All of these key tips are important and play a role in all of our lives. They feed off one another. You have to make sure you’re eating healthy, getting proper sleep, making time to exercise and turning off "work" when the time is appropriate. If you start to make the needed changes outlined in this article, you can conquer the 80 hour work week in a healthy manner.
You may be able to handle the work load now, but eventually, you’ll burn out. It happens to us all. Start applying these changes to your life, you won’t regret it. The one thing you can’t do without is your health, so remember that.