Americans are glaringly overworked. A good 40% regularly put in more than 50 hours on the job each week, while 20% clock in upwards of 60. And while some of that might boil down to pressing deadlines, often we impose these ridiculous schedules on ourselves. Here are a few reasons why you might be working more than necessary -- and what to do about it.
1. You're not delegating
Many of us avoid delegating because we're worried about giving up control or we fear that the people we assign tasks to won't do an adequate job. The problem with that attitude, however, is that it'll prevent you from getting the relief you need on the work front, so rather than uphold it, find ways to address your concerns.
You can start by training your employees or peers thoroughly so that they're well-equipped to handle the tasks you normally tackle solo. At the same time, you might need to adjust your standards and adopt a less perfectionist view. Otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy and won't ever allow anyone to step in and lend a hand.
2. You're rushing through tasks and making mistakes
Usually, it's more efficient to do a given task correctly the first time than to hurry through it, botch it, and have to repeat the process. If you find that you're frequently revisiting the same tasks over and over again, it could be because you're not paying enough attention on your first attempt. If that's the case, aim to slow things down a bit. A few extra minutes here and there might save you hours later on.
3. You're not reading instructions
Plugging away at a 10-page report is apt to take you more time than a simple two-pager. And maybe all your boss needs is that two-page write-up. But if you don't read your manager's instructions thoroughly, you might end up creating more work for yourself in the process.
Of course, this is one extreme example. The point is that when you don't take the time to understand what you're being asked to do, you risk adding more to your plate than necessary.
4. You're not being honest about your limitations
It's natural to want to please your manager by taking on more and more. But there comes a point where you have to be honest about the fact that you've got too much on your plate to possibly add another item. Therefore, get into the habit of saying no more frequently and make sure your boss is aware of how much you're already taking on. Admitting that you've reached your max doesn't make you weak; it makes you a responsible employee who doesn't want to risk errors by doing too many things at once.
If you don't take steps to make your workload more reasonable, you'll risk burning out and hurting your career in the long run. So don't let that happen. Instead, make an effort to ease that burden, even if it means changing the way you approach your job on the whole.