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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

How to Work 12 Hours a Day and Still Have a Life

Sometimes, in order to do your job right and do your job well, you have to put in some extra time. A lot of it.

But when you find yourself at work at 11 PM on a Friday night, wearing the same wrinkled slacks you tried to pass off as clean on Tuesday, eating cold pizza at your desk, ignoring the subtle buzzing of your cell phone, and staring at your screen wondering why you just spelled “educate” with a j in it (true story), well, the time has come. You need to stop.

What? Not an option? Well, OK—there’s another solution: incorporate your personal life into your job. Follow these tricks, and you can still have a life, while putting in your 16 hours a day.

1. Stop Working Out

Let’s face it, you never liked it that much anyways, and that’s an easy hour a day you can get back. If you have to work out, try and do it as close to the office as possible, and think about work and all the stuff you have to do the whole time. That way, by the time you get back to your computer, you’ll have already had your daily freak-out and will be ready to get started again.

2. Don’t Cook

That’s what takeout is for, right? Not only does cooking take too much time, you can’t type while you do it. (And pretty much any task you can’t complete while typing or working you should cut out of your life.)

3. Make Friends at Work

This one is easy. When your work is your life, then your work-friends become your life-friends. It just sort of happens naturally. Plus, if you had other friends before you started working so much, they probably won’t understand what you’re going through. You might as well not waste your time on them anyway.

4. Sleep Less

Now I know what you’re thinking: “I need to sleep or I won’t be able to function and thus will produce poor-quality work.” But the truth is, if you transition yourself slowly, it’s quite easy to survive on 2-3 hours of sleep a night. Start by shaving off an hour every three days—you’ll be amazed at how far you can go!

5. Only Date People In or Close to the Office

It’s easiest to date people in the office, so you never actually have to leave, but we all know that can get a little weird. So get creative. Try dating someone in your same building or, even better, the guy at the closest coffee shop.

6. Don’t Have Hobbies

OK, fine. If you have to have something in your life besides the office, consider laundry, cleaning, or commuting. It’s like tricking yourself into thinking you’re getting a break!

What, that sounds terrible? Well, when you work long hours, something has to suffer. And sometimes that’s okay—for a time. A tight deadline like a product launch, a new website, or a report that has to go out are all things that you’ll need to work late on. And they’re all also things that have an end.

So go ahead, push yourself. Do the late nights. Eat unhealthy meals at your desk. Survive on a lack of sleep and physical exercise.

But please—don’t do it forever.