When you have a job that requires you to work more than a typical full-time schedule, it’s especially important to be proactive about your work-life balance. Working 70-hour weeks can be challenging, but it’s also a way for some people to achieve their financial and career goals. By learning strategies to coordinate your work and manage your priorities, you can make this schedule more sustainable and continue pursuing an ambitious career path.
In this article, we explain the reasons people work 70 hours a week and share ways to help balance your schedule and personal life with a 70-hour schedule.
Why work 70 hours a week?
Everyone has their own personal reasons for establishing the number of hours they work each week. Although 40 hours a week is a common full-time schedule, some people have much more extensive schedules. There are a few key reasons why people work 70-hour weeks:
Some career paths involve working long shifts with extensive work schedules. For example, some doctors during residency can work over 100 hours per week. Business owners may dedicate 70 hours or more each week to running and growing their business. Lawyers, executives and finance professionals are two other examples of jobs that can have work schedules with over 70 hours. Some people work 70-hour weeks during the middle of their career to eventually achieve a more relaxed senior position.
If you want to achieve specific financial goals, you may work more hours per week to achieve them. Dedicating more time in your schedule to work allows you to increase your earning potential and earn more money to create financial security for you and your family. This can involve working at one job with extensive overtime or having multiple jobs to schedule the ideal number of hours to reach your income goals.
Passion for their work
Another reason people work 70 hours each week is that they’re extremely passionate about their jobs. Some people love their careers and get energy and relaxation from being at work. This is especially common for people who make jobs out of their hobbies or start a business from something they enjoy. When people are satisfied with an extensive work schedule as part of their long-term career plan, they often enjoy going to work and building their careers.
How to maintain work-life balance while working 70-hour weeks
If you have a schedule where you work 70-hour weeks or are interested in increasing your schedule, use these tips to maintain balance in your life with this ambitious schedule:
1. Create a chart of your time
If you want to work 70 hours a week, establish your priorities and understand how much time you have available to accomplish them. Creating a visual chart of your time makes it easier for you to understand how to balance your schedule. You can chart your time on a weekly or a daily basis depending on your schedule.
For example, if you work 70 hours a day, five days a week, this means that working 14 hours per day is a top priority for you. You have 10 more hours each day for sleep, hygiene, commuting and other activities. You also have two completely free days on the weekend. If you work seven or six days a week, you can adjust your calculations accordingly.
2. Don’t compromise on sleep
Along with work, make sleep one of your top priorities. Getting enough sleep is essential for work-life balance. Determine how much sleep you personally require to feel energetic and refreshed each day. Seven hours is usually a good benchmark, but everyone is different, and you may want more or less sleep depending on your personal needs. Schedule your time to ensure that you have quality sleep every night, regardless of the length of your workdays.
If you have a job that requires 24-hour shifts, such as a medical residency, schedule plenty of recovery time in your schedule. Create a space in your home where you can rest without interruption. Make your bed comfortable and consider investing in a quality mattress and blackout curtains to improve your environment.
3. Make an accessible schedule
Write down a schedule where you list out everything want to accomplish each day. To ensure your schedule is accurate, spend a week recording how you currently allocate your time. Pay attention to how long it takes you to complete every part of your routine, timing yourself if necessary. Once you understand the average time for each aspect of your schedule, confirm the times in your schedule and make adjustments to how you want to ideally coordinate your plans in the future.
Keep your schedule in an accessible place so it’s easy to follow. You can save a digital copy on your phone or laptop and check your plan throughout the day. If you prefer to have a paper schedule, you can create a physical planner and keep it with you during your commute to work.
4. Standardize your time
If possible, standardize your schedule to be consistent each day. Try to start and finish your shifts at the same times every day, and pick the same days each week to work. When incorporating other elements into your schedule, such as going to the gym or grocery shopping, choose a specific days or times throughout the week to complete these tasks. This can make it easier for you to optimize your time and plan your schedule. The more you standardize your schedule, the easier it can be to balance your free time outside of work.
5. Set aside time for yourself each day
When you work a rigorous schedule, it’s important to have some time every day to yourself. Even if you only spend 10 minutes doing something you enjoy, dedicate a part of your day to relaxing or doing something you enjoy. This can be anything that makes you feel good, ranging from doing a skincare routine to playing a game with friends. Prioritizing your happiness for even a brief moment every day can help your work plans feel more sustainable and remind you why you committed to a 70-hour schedule.
6. Energize yourself with breaks
Throughout the day, take regular breaks so you can remain productive and focused. Planning breaks during your shift can ensure that you finish the day without feeling burnt out from the long day. Depending on your job, your break can involve standing up and doing a few stretches, or closing your eyes for a few minutes to get a break from looking at screens.
If your job only provides limited break opportunities, schedule your work so you can switch tasks sporadically. Moving from one type of task to another can provide you with a mental break because it adds variety to your workflow. When you feel yourself getting tired throughout the day, try choosing another priority to focus on to renew your focus.
7. Socialize with your colleagues
Working a 70-hour schedule can limit the amount of time you have to socialize with friends and participate in hobbies. Add balance to your life and incorporate social stimulation into your day by making friends with your colleagues. Take the initiative to learn about your coworkers and get to know the people on your team. Inviting your colleagues to have lunch with you or sit together while you work on individual projects can provide you with social interaction, which is an important part of having a healthy work-life balance.
Whenever possible, outsource chores and personal tasks to make your life easier. This can include ordering your groceries for delivery or pickup, scheduling a laundry service or hiring a dog walker during the week. Review your budget and determine if it’s worthwhile to pay for services to assist you at home so you can spend more time at work growing your income. Depending on your salary, outsourcing some of your chores can save you a significant amount of time and allow you to relax more when you’re at home.