– Henry David Thoreau
It has always been a badge of honor for lawyers to work ridiculously long hours. The law firm culture says work late, every night, no matter what you are working on. This has long been a recipe for stress and burn-out. Now there’s research showing that those long hours may be jeopardizing your health.
A recent study from Health.com and reported by CNN has found that “people who work more than 10 hours a day are about 60 percent more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack than people who clock just seven hours a day.”
According to Dr. Marianna Virtanen, M.D., doctors “should include working long hours in their list of potential risk factors” for heart disease. And Peter Kaufmann, Ph.D., says that people who are driven and impatient at work “may be equally driven and impatient with . . . family and friends.”
As Tony Schwartz notes in “The Productivity Myth,” at Harvard Business Review online:
Just as you’ll eventually go broke if you make constant withdrawals from your bank account without offsetting deposits, you will also ultimately burn yourself out if you spend too much time and energy too continuously at work without sufficient renewal. . . . When you’re running as fast as you can, what you sacrifice is attention to detail, and time to step back, reflect on the big picture, and truly think strategically and long-term.
So, get busy working on your time management skills. Replace bad work habits with good ones…and get the heck out of the office…before it kills you.