3 Ways to Resist Working Off the Clock

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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Work smarter, not longer.


It’s your first salaried job. You’re excited, eager to meet your coworkers, and can’t wait to get started with the assignments lined up for you on your very first day. You want to impress your boss and go above and beyond, but how much is too much? When do you cross the line between being a fantastic and reliable employee to overworking yourself? Here are a few ways that you can spot the difference and work in a way that benefits both your new position and your mental and physical well-being.

Take a Look at Your Timesheet

If your job requires that you keep a timesheet, use it to your advantage. By keeping a close eye on your hours for that week, you’ll be able to know exactly where you’re at in terms of progress and outstanding work. If the end of the week is approaching and you still feel like you’ve got a lot more to do, take a look at your hours. Are you approaching the overtime mark? If so, you may be taking on more than you can handle. Communicate with your manager if you’re feeling overwhelmed and work together to determine how much work you’re able to handle within a given time period. If you’re not required to keep a timesheet, keep a manual record. It will give you a better understanding of your own capabilities when it comes time to tell your boss that you need to slow down.

Avoid the Email Trap

We’ve all been there. It’s the weekend, and while you should be enjoying your time off, you get that all too familiar email notification. While it may be hard to resist, don’t check your work email while you’re not in the office or on the clock. Disable notifications on the account after you leave for the day. If your job allows it, even consider not having the account linked to your personal devices at all. You may feel anxious at first, always feeling the pressure to answer a message as soon as you receive it, but with time you’ll enjoy the comfort of achieving a balance between your work life and your personal life. Trust me, you deserve it!

Eat Lunch Away from Your Desk

Your lunch break -- the one hour out of the day designated for you to sit back away from the hustle and bustle of the office and enjoy a meal. Remember that this time is meant for you and if you’re not being compensated for overtime, you shouldn’t be working. To avoid the urge to answer the phone or check your email, take your lunch to your breakroom, common area, or even outside if the weather permits. Give your mind and body a break from the strain of the computer and desk.

Want more tips on how to navigate the adult world? Check back here at College Quest!


Samantha Storms
Hofstra University

Despite her last name, this senior journalism and publishing student doesn't have dreams of becoming a weather forecaster upon graduation from Hofstra University. She is currently exploring her love of language as a Media Editorial Intern for the psychology team at Macmillan Learning. A true Pittsburgher through and through, Samantha enjoys knitting, listening to eighties pop, and searching for the best pho spots.