Most of the Corporate Climbers (men and women) I know have all done it. We all know it's not good but then deadlines happen or the corporate goes in to crisis mode then there's no other option. Sooner or later all those of us who work in corporates will have to burn work later, work overtime and burn the midnight oil.
Late work nights are inevitable, in fact I believe that you can't get anywhere in your organisation or career without putting in the extra hours. Your Head of Department and boss need to know that they can rely on you. But this doesn't nullify the fact that working when you're supposed to be at home sleeping in your comfortable Sealy bed (if you're me) is not good for you at all. So how do you make working overtime work for you?
1. Avoid it if you can. I know I said it's inevitable for most of us but if you able to avoid it through being very productive and effective during normal working hours then do it.
2. If you can't finish your work load during work hours and whatever crisis or deadline currently holding your organisation hostage spills over, avoid going too far out of pattern. Stick to your evening routine as closely as you can.
3. Go easy on the caffeine. I don't drink coffee after 7PM as a personal rule and if I'm working late I still try to avoid it. I know coffee is supposed to be great at helping you stay awake but it also keeps you awake even when you are done working and are ready to sleep. If you work late two nights in a row, imagine how much drinking two or three cups of coffee each night will affect you...
4. Keep eating right. I know that when we're all in crisis mode and working late at the office junk food just keeps appearing from nowhere. Keep to your eating habits. If you don't eat after 8PM, don't start just because you're working late.
5. Don't make it a habit. Working late every now and then is bad for your sleep but doesn't affect your sleeping patterns and body clock as much as working late three nights in a week might. Make burning the midnight oil an exception and not a rule.