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Working overtime might actually be a waste of time

Wednesday - 3/28/2012, 4:25am  ET

WASHINGTON - Those who work a lot of overtime and think they are getting more done might want to reevaluate their routines.

Studies show that always clocking more than 40 hours a week can make people unproductive, Yahoo Business reports.

Increasing hours in the office by 50 percent -- from 40 hours to 60 hours a week -- does not result in 50 percent more output, according to research. The numbers might actually be closer to 25 percent.

Research also shows working overtime can make workers very tired.

Some people in Charles County with whom WTOP talked agree that working a lot of overtime can be draining.

"Sometimes if you work too many hours, you're prone to make too many mistakes," says one person.

"You're not getting enough rest and sleep and you put too much time into the job," says another, who happens to be a firefighter.

"Research suggests that some people work extra hours to make themselves feel important," says Laura Vanderkam, a personal finance writer. This can be a tough habit to break.

But many workers WTOP talked to found that laughable.

"No, no, that was not the case," said one listener.

Others say they work overtime out of necessity. Budget cuts have left offices understaffed, and working extra hours is the only way to get anything accomplished.

One listener agrees: "Most time you have to (work overtime) because you don't have any help."

WTOP's Darci Marchese contributed to this report. Follow Darci and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)