How to work 60 hours a week: a survival guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 6 October 2022 | Published 7 December 2021

Updated 6 October 2022

Published 7 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Finding a work-life balance is essential when you have a job that involves working long hours, more than the standard eight-hour working day. Working a 60-hour week entails working an extra 20 hours compared to the traditional 40-hour working week. Learning how to find balance and manage a 60-hour working week can help maintain your productivity and passion for the job while also prioritising your well-being. In this article, we define 60-hour working weeks, review what types of jobs typically have them, highlight the importance of knowing how to manage a 60-hour work schedule and provide tips for managing one.

Related: What is the minimum expectation for full-time hours?

Why is it important to know how to work 60 hours a week?

Knowing how to manage a 60-hour working week is essential, as it can help you thrive in your career. It's key that you're able to mitigate any negative impacts to help you keep up with the job in the long term. Here are some benefits of knowing how to manage a 60-hour working week:

Help to achieve work-life balance

When your employer requires you to work 60 hours instead of 40 hours per week, you have less time outside of work for the hobbies or activities you're passionate about. While it may seem more challenging, you can still maintain a good work-life balance. Learning how to schedule activities in advance and adjusting your schedule to accommodate time with friends and family or allow personal time can help you achieve a better work-life balance.

Related: 15 best jobs for work-life balance (with duties and salary)

Enhance productivity

Knowing how to manage your time when working a long day can help you be more productive. You can achieve this by ensuring that you take enough breaks and structure your workday in a way that helps you finish your various tasks in the set time frames. This can also help you maintain boundaries for when your workday ends, which can help you return the next day feeling refreshed and ready to work.

Related: How to stop overthinking and increase productivity at work

Prevent burnout

When you understand how to successfully manage your 60-hour working week, you can better avoid burnout. This can occur when professionals get overworked and don't maintain a clear boundary between work time and days off or holidays. Knowing how to manage long working hours can help you spot the signs of burnout and make the necessary changes to prevent it.

What is a 60-hour working week?

A 60-hour working week means that your role typically requires you to work over the traditional 40 hours a week that is the norm for professionals in many sectors. This means that instead of working eight hours each day for five days a week, you may work 12 hours a day for five days or work an additional sixth day to meet their 60-hour requirements.

What types of jobs have 60-hour working weeks?

There are various jobs across different industries and levels of employment that involve working 60 hours a week. This may include those in management or executive positions that find it necessary to work longer hours to manage their team or run an entire company. Some jobs that typically have 60-hour working weeks may also include:

  • software developer or engineer

  • construction and trade jobs

  • sports manager or athletic director

  • horticulture, landscaping and gardening roles

  • farmer

  • hotel and travel jobs

  • healthcare roles

  • social media and marketing jobs

There are plenty of roles in these industries that don't require a 60-hour working week, but most of them require a dedication to work outside of normal working hours.

How to manage a 60-hour working week

There are some simple tips you can learn to help you thrive even when working long hours. There are many ways you can maximise your productivity, energy and enthusiasm throughout an extended working week. Here are a few steps on how to manage a 60 hour a week schedule:

1. Take brief breaks throughout the workday

When you're working 10 to 12 hours a day, it's essential that you take short breaks throughout the day to maintain your energy levels and stay productive. A good example of this is taking a short 10 to 15 minute break for every two hours of work. For example, this would give you adequate time to step away from your desk, engage with colleagues, have a snack or a lunch break and also move around a little. Taking frequent breaks can help you maintain your focus and work attentively for another couple of hours, as you know you can have another break soon.

2. Communicate your needs to your manager

Being open with your manager or supervisor about when you need a rest or time off can help you establish professional boundaries. It can also help employers grasp that time off is an important part of continued productivity in the workplace. Therefore, schedule time off for holidays or long weekends in advance, and when necessary, take sick days to look after your mental health and avoid overworking yourself.

3. Advocate for one or two days off per week

Working 60 hours may sometimes require working six days a week, which can be the case in industries like hospitality. It's important to work closely with your manager to establish at least one or two days per week that you have off work. It's an important subject to advocate for as your ability to have consistent days off ensures you get time to rest, spend time with loved ones and do things you enjoy.

4. Negotiate with your employer about a flexible work schedule

Another way to manage your 60-hour working week in a way that is sustainable for you is to speak with your manager about the possibility of a flexible work schedule. For instance, you may be someone who is more productive late at night or very early in the morning. In this case, you may want to ask your employer for an early or late start time.

Flexible work allows you to work in a way that is compatible with when you're most productive. This gives individuals with morning energy the ability to finish work at an earlier time and gives individuals who get energy later in the day to have more time in the morning for rest.

5. Set aside time to exercise throughout the week

Exercise is important for overall health but also for maintaining energy levels and reducing stress. Therefore, it's important that you set aside some time in your working week or on your days off where you can complete some form of exercise. It helps if it's an exercise you enjoy, like running, walking, biking, yoga or pilates. You can also schedule 30 minutes to an hour during your lunch break to work out if your employer allows it.

6. Prioritise healthy eating and adequate water intake

Eating healthy and drinking water can help you maintain your energy levels over the period of a 60-hour working week. This is because you stay hydrated and eat foods that give you the right number of calories your body needs to get through the day. To do this, you can bring healthy snacks to work like fruits, vegetables or nuts, and bring a water bottle that you can refill throughout the day.

Related: 10 simple tips to help when you have too much work

7. Make time for pleasurable activities

When people think about the prospect of working 60 hours a week, they may imagine a working schedule that allows no free time. It may be easy to get into a routine of going to work, coming home, going to sleep and then going back to work. It's important that you make time for activities you find pleasurable, or you could be at risk of burnout and becoming resentful of your job, which may have a negative impact on your performance. Aim to schedule some pleasurable activities a minimum of once or twice a week. You may want to go to the cinema, go out for a drink or spend time in nature.

8. Identify personal priorities and schedule time for them

Another way to ensure you manage your 60-hour working week well is to make plans for personal activities in advance. This ensures you follow through with your personal commitment and structure your workday around them. You may be able to arrange an earlier start time on a day you have something special planned so that you can leave earlier at the end of the day to attend.

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