Posted: November 16, 2012 at 9:45 A.M.
by Kristin Nelson
We’ve all been there. Deadlines and due dates are all-too-soon approaching, and you have to put in some extra hours. Of course, you are prepared to do the work — after all, you’re an excellent employee (or student or athlete). Nonetheless, the hours drag on and the work never seems to be finished.
How can you handle the stress and monotony of overtime hours? When a project is due by the end of the week and it is so tedious that it can’t be finished during the typical 9-to-5 day, follow these steps to help make crunch time less painful.
Set goals and work toward them. Before you begin your work, set a reasonable goal to complete by the end of the night. If you need to, set smaller goals to accomplish before you can take a break. Make sure your goals aren’t unreachable, but also be sure you are doing a significant amount of work. Try to get as much done as possible without overworking yourself. If you have teammates or colleagues working with you, make sure everyone is aware of and agrees upon these goals. Work toward them together so that everyone can go home feeling accomplished.
Work hard, and work quietly. While it may be tempting to have some fun while you’re pulling a late-nighter, it can be counterproductive. The more time you spend talking to colleagues, the less time you spend working toward your goal. Try to focus on the task at hand. If you need a second away from that task, check out the next tip.
Take breaks! Working super hard for hours on end usually isn’t as productive as it sounds. After reaching some small goals, take a break. Walk around, get out of the room, talk to your teammates, grab a snack. Don’t get so bogged down in your work that you can’t think clearly. Stay focused while working on the task, but reserve some time to be “unfocused” as well.
Respect your supervisor. When overtime hours are necessary, we often blame those above us. Please, refrain from doing so at the office. Perhaps your co-workers find it humorous to poke fun at the boss after he leaves the office, but that isn’t a good idea. Don’t join in — nothing good can come from it.
Be proud of yourself. When the work is finished, take time to relax and enjoy your feeling of accomplishment. You stayed focused and did the job — now it’s time to take pride in your work.
The bottom line is: we all have to stay late at some point or another. So, try to complain less and focus more. In the end, you’ll be glad you stayed and finished the project! That sense of pride is definitely worth all of your hard work.