How to Survive Working 80+ Hours a Week

How to Survive Working 80+ Hours a Week

The 80-hour working week is a thing dreaded by even the most dedicated of professionals. It is, after all, the equivalent of working two weeks within the space of one. While it certainly isn’t recommended as an ongoing, regular part of your work experience, a hard week of 80+ hours may allow you to catch up on your work load and keep the stress away from the rest of your month. It is important, when you decide to do something like this, to do it right – it would be all to easy to burnout and be unproductive for most of the time or to produce sub-par work. If there’s one thing you don’t want, it’s to have to backtrack later on and fix the mistakes you made while you were too tired to think straight. Therefore, having a clear plan and a well structured day is key to being successful in overcoming the 80+ hour working week.

How Many Hours per Day does an 80 Hour Week Equate to?

You will want to give a lot of consideration not just to the hours you will work in the week, but also to the number of days you will work. Working a traditional five-day week will result in you having 16-hour workdays; something you might find yourself struggling to accomplish. Everyone needs some down time during their week to stay sane! So, let’s examine alternatives: 80 hours a week is how many a day if you work 6 or 7 days in the week instead? A 6-day week comprised of a total of 80 hours would be between 13 and 14 hours a day, while a 7-day week would make that more like 11 or 12 hours per day. Those numbers are much more manageable on a day to day basis, but have the disadvantage of cutting into your weekend, so the choice will be down to personal preference. Regardless of which days you end up working, you will need to make use of an appropriate employee time tracking tool to be up to date on what you’ve done and what you have left to do throughout your week.

Is Working 80+ Hours a Week Healthy?

The obvious and instinctive answer is that regularly working 80 hours in a week is not the healthiest long-term solution. Working 80 hours a week for a short period, or intermittently, may well aid you in reducing work time stress and pressure affecting your mental state by letting you get out in front of big projects or catch up quickly when you’re behind the ball. When used effectively, working 80 hours in a week can help smooth out workplace stress which might otherwise last the whole month or longer. Having said that, it’s vitally important to make sure you are getting all the physical and mental stimulus you need to keep healthy while you work a heavy week – making sure you have enough sleep to feel rested, are eating full and healthy meals, and are getting enough physical exercise are all important factors to take into account.

How to Survive 80+ Hour Working Weeks

Ensure You Have a Healthy Sleep Schedule

Your non-working time: in particular your sleep, is important to keep good track of and make sure you are getting enough during your week. Not only is this important for your health, but also the quality of your work. There is no point in working a longer week only to have to go back and re-do subpar work. You need to have set sleeping hours and shouldn’t compromise those scheduled hours except in dire circumstances. Doing otherwise will have you quickly falling out of sync with your week.

Try to Include Some Sort of Exercise Throughout the Day

The importance of regular physical activity on the health of the human body and mind is well documented. It follows that maintaining some sort of exercise during your day will allow you to take a moment away to mentally reset and refocus. Keeping physically active during your week will have a noticeable effect on both the quality and efficiency of your work. Don’t get caught in the trap of telling yourself that you don’t have time for it: you will see that your ability to work hard and be productive because of your exercise regime will more than make up for the time you spend actually exercising. You can use physical activity to break up your workday into manageable pieces rather than mentally draining yourself by working unnecessarily long periods without a break.

Have Leisure Time and Breaks

Taking appropriate time to unwind and reset for your next task is crucial to maintaining your productivity. Using an appropriate time tracking app you can keep your day working to a clearly defined schedule in order to make sure you are putting the time you have to its best use. A rest period is not only important for maintaining your health but also for allowing you to mentally adjust when switching tasks in order to maximise your work output. You’ll quickly feel like you’re going insane if all you fill your day with is work, work, work: get some sunshine, take a walk, listen to some of your favorite tunes. Just like with getting appropriate sleep, having some time for yourself will pay off in the long term by helping you to maintain your productivity.

Create a Schedule for Each Day

There are only so many hours in the day, which is why you are going to need to be organised. Having a schedule for each day will allow you to not only get into a routine, but to have a clear plan of action as to what you want to accomplish during the day and also help to keep you taking the right amount of sleep and physical activity to keep you going. You can stop yourself from wasting to much time on specific tasks and keep a gauge of your productivity: if you wind yourself much less productive than two days ago, perhaps you need to take a walk and refresh your mind. When you are so focused on work it can be easy to ignore basic needs like eating and having a clear schedule will help you to maintain every aspect of your health during your daily grind. Being able to see yourself accomplishing goals throughout the week will do wonders for helping you stay disciplined and on task.

An Example of a Schedule of an 80+ Hour Work Week


0600-0615 –Wake up, quick jog.

0615-0620 –Shower.

0620-0630 –Breakfast.

0630-0900 –Everyday work tasks.

0900-0905 –Quick coffee.

0905-1200 – Prepare report.


1200-1230 –Eat lunch.

1230-1430 –Work on project A.

1430-1530 –Team meeting over Zoom.

1530-1800 –Work on project B.


1800-1850 –Dinner

1850-1950 –Read/answer work emails.

1950-2030 –Time with the family/leisure.

2030-2230 –Project A.

2230-2245 – Makes notes for tomorrows tasks/requirements

2245-2300 –Night hygiene. Go to bed.

Consider Whether it’s Worth it

Forget about 80+ hours a week; most people will quickly ask whether significantly smaller work hours would be unhealthy. For example, is working 12 hours a day to much? There certainly literature to indicate that there can be long term negative health effects from working more than a regular 40-hour week. Working 60 hours a week; let alone 80, would become incredibly taxing for even the hardiest and dedicated of workers. Even those who truly love their job and get great joy from their work might quickly be consumed by working such extreme hours. Perhaps, as a one off or irregular occurrence, the 80+ hour week can help you get back on track and catch up where you’ve fallen behind. When these become the norm, however, it might be time to start considering a job that is less demanding on your health. Work doesn’t need to be so crazy.

Always Prioritise Your Health!

Working 80-hour weeks regularly can pose significant health risks. Here are some key health concerns to be aware of:

  1. Sleep Deprivation: Consistently working long hours can lead to chronic sleep deprivation, which impacts both physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can impair cognitive functions, reduce immune system effectiveness, and increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  2. Mental Health Issues: Extended work hours can lead to increased stress, burnout, anxiety, and depression. The mental strain of managing intense workloads without adequate downtime can have long-term psychological effects.
  3. Physical Health Problems: Sitting for long periods, especially in front of a computer, can lead to musculoskeletal problems, eye strain, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It's also common to neglect physical exercise, which can exacerbate these issues.
  4. Poor Diet and Hydration: With a busy schedule, there's a tendency to opt for quick, unhealthy food choices and insufficient hydration, leading to nutritional deficiencies and related health problems.
  5. Reduced Immune Function: Overworking and stress can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
  6. Neglect of Personal Relationships and Social Life: This can lead to feelings of isolation and exacerbate mental health issues.

To mitigate these risks, it's crucial to:

  • Prioritize Sleep: Ensure you get enough restful sleep each night.
  • Take Regular Breaks: Short breaks throughout the day can reduce physical and mental strain.
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: Plan meals to include a balance of nutrients.
  • Exercise Regularly: Incorporate physical activity into your routine.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Seek Support: Talk to a professional if you're struggling with mental health issues.
  • Balance Work and Life: Ensure you have time for social activities and relaxation.

Remember, while career success is important, it should not come at the expense of your health and wellbeing. If possible, consider discussing workload and hours with your employer to find a more sustainable balance.

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