We’ve all been through the experience of waking up to our alarm and just pressing snooze until we are sure that we’re running late. We get up as zombies and go about our day wishing the entire time that we had gone to bed earlier the night before instead of watching that one more episode on Netflix or scrolling through just one more page on 9gag.
What we may not realize is that our bad sleeping habits and lack of sleep actually have a direct impact on not only the rest of our day, our mood and our state of mind, but also on the work performance during the day.
Studies have shown, over and over again, the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation even on elite athletes, let alone an average office employee. The difference is, with athletes, the effects mean they jump a few inches less or run a peg slower while an average Joe might lose his job.
Below are 7 major ways sleep affects our job performance and productivity.
1 | Time-management
Waking up not having had enough sleep is a sure way to get off to a slow start. The more tired we are, the more we will psych ourselves out about going to work and getting our job done. To put it simply – our time management skills go out the window.
We tend to take longer in getting ready for work and try and delay leaving until the last possible minute. Because of this, we usually cut it very fine on getting to work on time, or are generally a few minutes late.
2 | Routine Whack
We all have our morning routines, whether it is a cup of steaming coffee the minute you walk into work or catching up on your Facebook feed before a big meeting. But sometimes being tired makes even our everyday tasks more of an effort. We are thrown out of our regular groove, which can lead to our entire day being thrown off.
3 | Slow-mode and then on to ‘Urgency’
Being tired makes the simplest of tasks seem daunting. Our performance is severely affected when, a task that usually takes us 10 minutes to complete when we are well rested, now takes up 30 minutes or more. It limits our efficiency and makes the amount of things that we complete in a day dwindle.
During a day when we are particularly tired, most people tend to use the ‘urgency’ method. They assess the work that they have ahead of them and rate it as urgent, semi-urgent or avoidable. They will slowly start working at the urgent and possibly the semi-urgent work but will put off the avoidable work until the next day.
Once they have completed their urgent and semi-urgent work, they will generally relax the rest of the day thinking about knock off time and when they can get some sleep and only do things that suddenly become urgent.
4 | Cough-cough
Studies have shown that people who do not get enough rest at night are more likely to get sick or suffer from chronic health problems than people who get the right amount of rest.
Continuously not getting enough sleep begins to affect your immune system… and not in a good way. It makes you more susceptible to illnesses such as colds or flu. It also makes you more likely to suffer from eye strain and headaches. Most people don’t worry about this because they know that they have sick days available.
However, if you are the boss or running your own company, you will soon start to see the effects of your staff continuously being off sick.
5 | What did you say?
A lack of sleep affects our abilities not only to learn new skills or information, but also our ability to store new things or recall stuff we know.
Being tired inhibits our ability to remember the things we needed to do during the day at the office and what we needed to set up for the next day at work. This could mean forgetting to reply to an urgent email to seal a multi-million dollar contract to forgetting to make sure you turn the air conditioner off when you leave for the day.
6 | Oops… let me try that again.
We’ve all had the experience where we are sitting typing an email and decide that we can close our eyes and do it by memory, just to get that few seconds of rest. Then we open our eyes and wonder if it had actually been us typing because we can’t decipher the strange language that has appeared on the screen in front of us.
Being tired causes us to make more mistakes, more often. Not having proper sleep makes our focus quickly abandon us and we tend to make a lot more mistakes, even when doing the most simple of tasks. This may not be too much of a problem if we discover them and fix them in time to avert any disaster they could have caused, but when our boss sees them first, saying that we are tired isn’t going to be a reasonable excuse.
7 | I’m done… I’m just so done!
We have all been on the edge of a burnout at some time in our lives. When we just have too much on our plate and there is no way that one person can be expected to do it all.
Not having enough sleep only compounds this feeling. In addition to feel like we’re trying to do too much, that ‘too much’ seems like even more because of the fact that we are tired as well. Not getting enough sleep at night puts us on the fast track to a major burnout which could end with us crying in the corner of the boardroom while our boss looks on.
Bottom line – the next time that you think that you can watch that last episode and still manage the next day, remember, not only are you going to be punishing yourself, but you work is going to take a knock as well… and you better hope that you boss doesn’t notice.