Are you the type of person who works while on vacation, checks e-mails on your Smartphone while at dinner, and has to make one last phone call before walking away? Maybe you are a typical workaholic. You are not alone; millions of people are addicted to their work. And while you may think that is a good thing, there are several reasons why it actually is not.
Typical workaholics have a difficult time walking away from their work or out of the office. They even tend to start neglecting other areas of their life, because they are so consumed by their work. In addition, they are the type of people who have a difficult time delegating work to others, and when they do delegate, they tend to micromanage the entire time.
Did you know that, in addition to the health problems due to stress that all that workaholic behavior can lead to, there is more to be concerned about? Studies have shown that 9-to-5ers are actually more productive, per hour, than those who are workaholics. (You, know, the 9-to-9ers.)
I used to be proud of how hard I worked. My typical chest pounding went: “Look! I work 12 hours a day, every day. I put in 80 hours a week, baby! I have a great work ethic!”
Turning Over a New Leaf
But then I realized that, by working those long hours, I had simply afforded myself an excuse. I didn’t need to be efficient anymore. I could just say to myself that, if I didn’t do it now, I could do it tonight, and stay up until 2 a.m. to get it done. Being a workaholic turned me into a procrastinator. I seriously had the ultimate micro-mañana syndrome!
Ironically, when I forced myself to leave work each day by 5 p.m., my whole scheduled changed. I started skipping the nonsense distractions, such as the constant checking of e-mail, or surfing (ahem – researching) the Internet. I actually got down to work during that time. My per-hour productivity skyrocketed! And I was getting more done in a 9-to-5 day than I used to in an entire “workaholic day.”
Road to Recovery
So if you label yourself a workaholic, recognize that you are really labeling yourself as woefully unproductive. It is time to start turning yourself into a productivity machine. And the trick to doing that is simple. Force yourself to leave at 5 p.m. every day. That is how I do it, and you can, too!
Each day, I schedule a 5 o’clock appointment with someone. Sometimes it is a workout at the gym with a friend. Other times, it is a doctor’s appointment. Still other times, it is a get-together with my wife. The key here is to force yourself to be physically out of your office by 5.
The forced break and change of location that you give yourself will work wonders for shutting off the workload for that day. And with that forced break at 5 p.m., you will learn that you must be productive from 9 to 5.
When you first make the switch, it will take some time to adjust. Just be patient with yourself. Before you know it, you will stop feeling guilty for not working during every free moment you have, and you can actually enjoy your vacation. Your personal relationships will improve, as others sense that you are giving them a higher priority. (Remember, you will no longer be texting or calling a client during your romantic dinners.) And if you have serious difficulty making the transition, find a Workaholics Anonymous meeting near you. (Seriously, they do exist!)
No longer be a workaholic. Instead, become a productivity-aholic.