Managing Long Hours in the Finance World

The finance sector is well-known for its hard working employees and infamously long hours. Many entry-level employees find themselves constantly lacking sleep and fighting to stay awake or attentive at their desks throughout the day. While working long hours certainly has a physical effect on your body, its toll on your mind is often overlooked. Finance jobs can require an infallible and alert mind for more than twelve hours a day, so how do you manage those long work nights? Here are some tips to not only help alleviate the physical toll of too little sleep, but also help keep your mind sharp after a long night at the office.

Limit Caffeine Intake. Easier said than done, it’s true. Although it’s tempting to drink numerous cups of coffee a day to stay awake, too much caffeine will increase your dependency on it and that one cup of coffee will snowball into multiple.  However, the timing of your caffeine can prove to be more effective in the long run, and studies have found that a large cup in the morning, followed by smaller cups throughout the day can help you hit an optimum caffeine level. If you’re serious about keeping tabs on your coffee intake, the iPhone app Caffeine Zone helps you monitor by charting a graph of your daily caffeine level.  To make the most of your morning and afternoon cups of coffee, pair them with foods known to provide more energy. Some energy ‘super foods’ include eggs, broccoli, chicken (and similar lean meat), almonds, baby spinach, and whole grains.

Water Cooler Time. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you’re still falling asleep at your desk after your coffee and ‘super food’ lunch, try to get up and get your feet moving-even if just for a walk to the water cooler. Sitting still when you’re tired will only encourage your eyes to droop. So grab some water every other hour or go to the bathroom for a quick moment to shake off that stagnant, sleepy feeling at your desk.

An Hour a Day Keeps the Insanity Away. Although it might be tough to find an extra hour in the day when you’re working such long hours, an hour for yourself a day can work wonders. Whether it’s going to the gym before work in the morning to blow off some steam, reading a book when you get home, or going out for drinks with your friends, taking one personal hour a day to forget about work will make all those hours you put in at the office more manageable.

Sleep Tight and Sleep Right. It’s true, a good night’s sleep is the best way to recover and prepare for long days at the office. But getting a good night’s sleep might be difficult when you find yourself mulling over work and perhaps only getting a few hours a night. In order to make sure that you get the most out of your sleep, try and solidify a routine so your body subconsciously realizes it’s time to relax. Don’t be afraid to go back to bedtimes! Having a set time you go to sleep, even if it’s midnight or one in the morning, will help your body settle into a better sleeping pattern.

Long hours in the office can be exhausting and daunting, but knowing how to manage them will make a huge difference. However, the most important thing to remember, especially in finance, is how much you love your job. It’s easy to forget while working numerous hours in the office, but if you love what you do, those long hours might not feel so long after all.