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5 Tips to Avoid Overtime at Work

5 Tips to Avoid Overtime at Work

Working overtime

What are some tips to avoid overtime at work?

  1. Manage your workload
  2. Lessen distractions
  3. Stick to a schedule
  4. Know your limits
  5. Take short breaks


If there’s anything that the average employee hates more than working a stagnating job, it’s having to handle excessive work above their paygrade. You might have found yourself in the same situation before — working an extra three hours on top of your already grueling 9 or 8-hour shift just to meet a deadline. Without any knowledge of tips to avoid overtime at work, don’t expect yourself to clock out as soon as your shift ends.

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to lessen instances of overtime. Through knowing the best ways of managing your workload, lessening distractions, and knowing your limits, it’s certainly possible. Read on to learn more.


Manage Your Workload

Managing your workload is easier said than done, but once you get the hang of it, then it’ll be second-nature to you.

This can be done by making a list of your priorities. Work on tasks that you need to finish within the day first, as this helps get the most crucial work out of the way. Then, you’ll want to move on to the simpler and more menial tasks that don’t really require much of your brainpower.

Contrary to what people might tell you, don’t try to multitask in your work. Instead, focus on a single thing at a time, as this makes your job less overwhelming and more productive.


Lessen Distractions

Young handsome Indian businessman working overtime at home late at night

If your office has a strict, no-cellphone policy during working hours, then distractions are few and far in between. In the absence of one, however, then you might be victim to pesky disturbances that can chip away at your precious time.

As much as possible, you’d want to reduce any source of distractions especially if you’re working from home. Keep away all devices such as smartphones, handheld consoles, television sets, or virtually anything that may take your attention away from what you actually need to get done.


Stick to a Schedule

Not many employees will be too thrilled about the idea of sticking to a schedule at work. After all, no day is the same — it’s certain that you’ll be met with many unexpected work encounters that may push back the time you need to devote to your tasks.

However, you should at least try your best to come up with a daily work schedule that you can work with.

Try giving yourself a time limit by which you can accomplish a single work-related activity. Doing this allows you to gauge the level of your productivity and efficiency over time.


Know Your Limits

Content creator working overtime at home

Sure, it’s great if you always try going beyond the call of duty regarding your work. You don’t mind taking in more tasks that aren’t really within the scope of your job description — but is this really something that you can sustain in the long run?

Saying “no” to your superiors or colleagues can be something that you might have difficulty with, but you should be able to know your limits and assert yourself.

When you really cannot take on more work other than what you already have on your plate, it’s time to let your colleagues know that you simply cannot get it done within the day. Give them an idea of just how mentally and physically demanding your workload is. Stand your ground and don’t give in to their requests, even if they try to convince you otherwise.


Take Short Breaks

You might be thinking that taking breaks is counterproductive to avoid working overtime, but it doesn’t always have to be the case.

A great reason why you should make it a habit to take breaks is so that you don’t burn out fast. Remember: the life of an employee is a marathon and not a sprint. Becoming the best version of an employee that you could be is all about doing things in a more sustainable manner.

When you’re taking breaks, you’re re-energizing yourself just in time to take on the next set of tasks that you have to finish. In this way, you’ll be able to get the job done more efficiently and productively. You won’t find yourself slacking off and just letting precious time pass.


Key Takeaway

Some of the best tips to avoid overtime at work include the following: managing your workload, sticking to a schedule, knowing your limits, taking short breaks, and lessening distractions.

Although making these best work practices can be difficult in the beginning, it’s all about taking it slow and giving yourself time to adjust. Do them consistently and you’ll soon find yourself a happier and healthier employee.

About Sean

is a motivational speaker and is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.