Stress levels skyrocket when you go into crunch mode to get last-minute work done before a big deadline, but a lot of us still think we do our best work under pressure. According to the IGDA web site, though, if you're putting in overtime beyond your basic 40 hours for an extended period of time, it's unlikely you're getting all that much more done.
Workers can maintain productivity more or less indefinitely at 40 hours per five-day workweek. When working longer hours, productivity begins to decline. Somewhere between four days and two months, the gains from additional hours of work are negated by the decline in hourly productivity. In extreme cases (within a day or two, as soon as workers stop getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night), the degradation can be abrupt.
While it's no surprise that stress levels go on the rise during crunch time, keep in mind that the extra hours may not actually be getting you that much more work done—and if you can avoid extended overtime, you probably should.
In any case, we know that there are lots of you out there pulling well over 40 per week, so we're curious: