The above is not just a bizarre eye-catching headline, but unfortunately so very true. A woman in Japan died of “overwork”, a common cause of death in the nation. Miwa Sado, a media worker logged in 159 hours of overwork in one month before she died of heart failure.
She was a 31-year- old employee of Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. During the month of July 2013, she only took two days off and worked nearly double the hours that normal Americans work. Two 40-hour weeks equated to 160 hours in the month and her death was attributed to “Karoshi”, which is a Japanese term for “overwork”.
In the year 2015, 24-year- old Matsuri Takahashi killed herself because of work-related stress, after putting in more than 100 hours of overtime. “I want to die. I am physically and mentally shattered”, she posted on social media.
Mr. A worked in a snack food processing industry for 110 hours a week and died of heart attack at the age of 34.
Conventional wisdom says that hard work has its just rewards. You cannot fight with success, fame, and fortune. The big successes of the world put in 12 to 14 hours of work each day, including Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes. But the flip side to this is never discussed. After a certain point, the quality of work diminishes, taking a heavy physical, emotional and mental toll. This could lead to sleep deprivation and a breakdown. Eventually, the quality of life also diminishes. Without a break from work, people become bored and boring due to no other outside interests.
There are a lot of companies who do not pay heed to the saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. They believe in working their top employees to produce stunning results, superstars, creators, and innovators.
Human beings are not machines
Companies who overwork their employees eventually have to pay a heavy price in the long run. Employees are not machines, even though they might appear tough, strong and resilient. Human beings have always worked long hours. But in today’s times, good technology in neat and sophisticated gadgets has made the process painless. However, though the physical drudgery has been removed, there is an emotional and psychological drain.
What we are discovering now was learned by Henry Ford in the 1920s. He found out that by cutting down the number of hours to 40 a week and by making it a 5-day week, worker outputs could be increased and production costs could be reduced.
Know your limits
Each person is different. Some require more sleep and downtime than others. Find out when you are at your peak, giving off your best and when do you start losing effectiveness. This will help you determine how many extra hours of work you can put in for special projects. Working smart means understanding the limitations of your physical and mental conditions.The importance of leading a balanced life can never be undermined. Eating sensibly and getting enough rest is the way to go. It is definitely not easy, but it is worth the effort.