14 scientific reasons to disconnect at the weekend

What did you do over the weekend? Chances are you put a few extra hours in at work, whether in the office or on the sofa with your smart phone. Americans have a bad habit of working too much: 61% even take their work on vacation with them, which is pretty extreme when you consider that the average American only takes half of their earned vacation time in the first place.

If you feel pressured to work on your day off to impress your boss, to earn a few extra bucks, or because you genuinely want to excel at what you do, the irony is that you might actually end up doing more harm than good. A report from Business Roundtable showed that construction workers turning in 60-hour weeks over a two-month period were ultimately no more productive than had they worked 40-hour weeks in the first place. A Whitehall study suggested that working long hours can double the odds of a major depressive episode — not much use for your boss, your family, or anyone.

Indeed, it’s estimated that the absenteeism and reduced productivity that are connected to stress cost U.S. businesses $300 billion per year, something you may want to think about going into work in for a couple of hours on Saturday morning. Instead, consider making the most of your weekend. If you pencil in physical activities and quality time with the family, you’re far less likely to get drawn back to the computer screen to catch up with little tasks that can probably wait until Monday. Switch your notifications off and turn your attention to the little details — a home-cooked meal, a walk in the fresh air —your productivity, health and relationships all have a far better chance to prosper.

For more on the science behind getting a weekend off, and how to do it properly, be sure to check out this new infographic. Your new schedule starts this weekend.


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