For those of you putting in 110%, taking one for the team, going above and beyond the call, or any other cliche related to hard work: Just stop it right now, because research suggests that nobody really cares. Sure, people notice and tsk accordingly when you don't do what you said you were going to, but as UC San Diego behavioral sciences prof Ayelet Gneezy finds, exceeding your promise "does not appear to be worth the effort." Or, as Business Week puts it, "Nobody cares how awesome you are at your job."
Specifically, says Gneezy, "promise receivers consistently failed to recognize the additional effort required to exceed a promise." Think of it this way: If you promise to get something done in three days, people will be ticked if it takes four, but they won't care much if you get it done in two. Now exceeding expectations is a wildly different beast. That is, if you make no such promise about when something will get done but surpass the other person's hopes, they'll be absolutely thrilled. But as for promises, Time notes that "just keeping your word is good enough, (so) focus on that." (Read more promises stories.)