A colleague who joined the company a month later than I did started doing serious overtime work from the first day and has almost never gotten off work on time. She has been told many times by the management not to do so much overtime work because of extra costs the company incurs and also because the year before, a fellow worker at our parent company reported to the heavens due to overwork.
She’s been told so many times that one day, she came to me and asked how I manage to get off work on time most days. I gave her a very simple answer, “Never do today what you can leave till tomorrow when it’s time to knock off.”
She nodded and waited, expecting more from me. But I went, “That’s it.”
No doubt, the exact opposite of this idea, never leave till tomorrow what you can do today is applicable to almost every aspect of your life, especially your dreams. It is not applicable when it’s time to knock off. It is this very mantra that is the cause of unnecessary overtime work day after day. Note, I said “unnecessary” because I recognise the existence of inevitable overtime work, being handed them myself. But I see a lot of people doing more overtime work than required because they want to finish what they can today so that they have less to do the following day. Then they do overtime work again the following day for the same reason and the same pattern repeats itself for the rest of their lives till they retire from work; or from this world before their time. I don’t mind doing overtime work on Fridays because I don’t have to wake up early the next day but I try as much as possible to not do it on weekdays just so I can have enough rest.
It’s been chanted enough times to be a sutra in itself that “work can never be finished” but it never gets into people’s systems. If you put in extra hours to do something you can leave till the next day, including the time when overtime work is absolutely necessary, you practically have no days you get off work on time.
I don’t have a brilliant mathematical formula to prove this concept, but I hope to have convinced you enough to save yourself.