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Coping with exhaustion

  1. Aug 8, 2018 #1
    This is a health related question. I plan to increase my hours drastically to about 65-80 hrs a week. I need to accomplish my goals, so reduction in work is not negotiable. This will go on for a very long time.

    Given this, are there stress reducers that can completely negate the negative health effects? Have there been studies conducted on specific remedies for potential overwork? Would being muscular and fit help? Eating well? Etc.

    In particular, I'm curious about exercise.

    Have there been studies conducted on a random sample of people who are already highly fit who also work 80 hr weeks? Only a study like this can lead to good inferences on the effect of exercise on stress reduction
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2018 #2


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    Are you aware that study after study showed that working longer hours is fine only for short term? After a few weeks of working for 60 hrs a week your total output becomes LESS than working 40 hrs a week. Think again about the purpose of your plan to work hours. Your sure outcome is stress and health problem and in the end you will accomplish less than working regular hours.
  4. Aug 9, 2018 #3
    What about guys like Paul Erdos?
  5. Aug 9, 2018 #4


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    You want steroids for the brain, yes? You want to mess with your most important and sensitive organ, the one most protected by nature? Look how safe the brain is, it has a skull to protect it, arms to defend it, a blood-brain barrier to regulate the environment. Apart from headaches, most people don't notice it. But boxers get brain damage, soccer players can be prone to that as well. It doesn't take a lot to throw things out of whack.

    I think I've made my point. You are best advised not to tinker and find the number of hours sleep you need. For me, it's 9 hours.
  6. Aug 9, 2018 #5

    Stephen Tashi

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    You haven't revealed what kind of work you will do for 65-80 hours a week.

    The work of Paul Erdos was thinking about technical mathematical concepts. By contrast, most of your posts on the forum don't get into technical details. So it isn't clear to the casual observer how the example of Paul Erdos would be relevant to whatever you're doing.
  7. Aug 9, 2018 #6
    I would say unless it is (at least partially) some 'recreational' work, it would be a direct and fast road to burnout.

    Do you feel like Paul Erdos?
  8. Aug 9, 2018 #7
    I'll be doing a lot of talking since I'm doing education for a living. So other than possible wear and tear on my vocal cords, no real strain. But I'm also trying to break into data science, so a lot of programming practice and things like kaggle competitions. Needs to be full time for both work and interview prep since I need to make money and build strong skills in coding at the same time. So I necessarily need to do double the work.

    I'm not exactly digging ditches here. Mental marathons should be much easier to run. is it not?
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  9. Aug 9, 2018 #8
    Just some coding and stats. Not backbreaking work by any means.
  10. Aug 9, 2018 #9
    If only there were steroids for the brain. I wish such a nice shortcut existed. I wouldn't mind paying the price so only as price isn't decreased performance over the long run.

    But nothing works like that for the brain really. Stimulants like caffeine will just give a temp boost with a risk of crash. It doesn't even make people smarter/ more creative, which is where it really counts for better performance.
  11. Aug 9, 2018 #10
    Definitely not.

    Teaching, coding, learning in 80hrs a week - maybe for a month or two, but no longer if you take all that seriously. I think you should cut some corners.
  12. Aug 9, 2018 #11


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    You need to work smarter, not more. Pushing 60+ hours of hard mental work will lead to a decrease in productivity along with a potential host of mental health problems. In recent years this has become more of a talked about issue in various fields, such as the video game industry where it's expected that for months ahead of release of a game this type of workload is expected (leading to significant staff burnout and turnover).

    If you're going to strain yourself at the very least figure out a very good metric by which to evaluate your progress and health. In particular bring other people into it. See your doctor, request evaluations from supervisors/peers/clients etc.
  13. Aug 10, 2018 at 5:07 AM #12

    George Jones

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    You are not Paul Edos. Also, Paul Edos regularly took speed. From


    ":After 1971 he also took amphetamines, despite the concern of his friends, one of whom (Ron Graham) bet him $500 that he could not stop taking the drug for a month. Erdős won the bet, but complained that during his abstinence, mathematics had been set back by a month: "Before, when I looked at a piece of blank paper my mind was filled with ideas. Now all I see is a blank piece of paper." After he won the bet, he promptly resumed his amphetamine use."
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