5 Rules to Follow When Working Overtime

Burning the midnight oil…working overtime can be a great way to get ahead of your work, grow in your career, and make extra money. Often times, people work overtime to bring more money home or get a couple steps ahead of everyone else, work-wise. Whatever your reason for working long hours, there are certain rules to follow when working overtime. Keep these 5 things in mind when working overtime is a consistent strategy for you.

#1 Make sure your work is effective

If you are going to be working a lot of overtime, you better believe your company is noticing. Not only does your employer have to pay you more for your long hours, but there are certain labor laws that have to be implemented. There will come a time when they question if the overtime you’re working is worth the output of the work you are producing as a result of that overtime.

To ensure you can continue working overtime with approval from your employer, make sure your work is on point and effective. Poor results are going to quickly turn into overtime being taken away.

#2 Get plenty of rest

Being at work for 8 hours can be draining, let alone extra hours on top of that! To guarantee your work is the best it can be when working overtime, make sure you are getting plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your body, mind, and attitude. If you are going to be doing a lot of overtime, make sure a good night’s sleep is in the plan.

#3 Factor in time for yourself outside of work

Just like a good night’s sleep can help you handle overtime consistently, making sure you have time to yourself to unwind will help you avoid burnout. When you are going, going, going on the job, your tank can run on fumes. That will lead to burnout.

When you are outside of work, take some time to do things you enjoy. Go to the gym. Read a book. Take a bath. Whatever you need to do to fill your tank back up, do it. You will feel so much better about logging long hours when you know you have a nice massage waiting for you on the weekend.

#4 Have a strategy for the extra income

When you are working overtime, whether financially driven or not, it’s important to have a strategy for that extra income. Are you saving for a new car? Maybe you will pay off your debt faster. Think about how you can positively use that extra money to get further ahead in you finances. Once the overtime comes to an end, you will feel much more accomplished knowing financial priorities got taken care of.

#5 Don’t rely on overtime long-term

If you are working overtime to get ahead financially (or to get from underwater financially), make sure you have a budget that let’s you get by on your non-overtime income. Since overtime can be taken away at any time, relying on it to make sure your living expenses are covered can be dangerous. Certainly take advantage of the overtime offered to you, but make sure you have a plan in case that overtime comes to an end.

If your non-overtime income does not cover all of your expenses, you should look for a second job that won’t be taken away from you. Nothing would be worse than overtime being taken away from you and you can’t pay your bills. Overtime is not something that should be relied on long-term, even if your employer tells you it is. Things can change very quickly in your company, so what may apply today won’t apply tomorrow.

Related: Mindset Shifts to Kill It at Work


Working overtime is a great way to earn extra money and get quality work done, so it’s important to take of yourself while you’re doing it. Do you work overtime? What do you do to stay sane and spend the extra money wisely? Share your thoughts with the CGS community by posting a comment below or in the CGS Facebook group!

-The CGS Team



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