No this isn’t another article on how to avoid being a workaholic. This article is actually a guide to enjoy being a workaholic as well as safeguarding that thing called ‘a private life’. Let me underline a fact here: I am not encouraging you to turn into workaholics no matter how much you enjoy your job. For many of us, our jobs are the source for our self actualization. Nevertheless, your job is not everything in your life! You also have your own personal hobbies and activities, your family, your friends and other obligations that you have on your priority list – assuming you have one! So, worst case scenario is that you are actually in a job in which you cannot help but be a workaholic. Perhaps you are just getting your career kicked off and you are part of a sales team that is being paid a small basic salary and high commission. In this case, the majority of your income depends on the sales that you make on a monthly basis. In this case, you may have to force yourself into working more hours, exerting more efforts, sacrificing some personal time and overlapping your work with your life outside the office. So, how on earth can you create this balance?
1. Strive for balance in your life: Successful workaholics see themselves not just as business owners, but also as spouses, parents, members of the community, sports fans, charitable volunteers, etc. Though they may not mix business and pleasure, they make sure they include a healthy mixture of both in their lives on a daily basis. Devote at least one focused hour each day to something you value and enjoy and that has absolutely no connection to business.
2. Boost your efficiency: Time can be your enemy or your friend. But people who achieve success in business and satisfaction in their personal lives do so partially because they have learned to accomplish more in less time. So, structure your time as if it were gold. Don’t walk into work, look around and then decide what needs to be done. Instead, begin each day with a to-do list of what you need to accomplish during that day. That way you can hit the ground running each morning and move steadily and efficiently from task to task.
3. Enjoy the trip, not just the goal: Merry workaholics resist feeling guilty about either putting in too much time or taking too much time off. If they have planned their work and leisure time properly, they can focus on each separately and forget the other. Build in rewards for yourself and your family and have something to look forward to outside of work. Maybe it’s the Thursday all-you-can-eat buffet for lunch at your favorite restaurant or going to a movie in midweek. This expands to get-away weekends and at least one extended vacation each year.
4. Build in family time: or social time every day, even if you have to schedule it by the clock. This helps safeguard the things you really care about. Actively plan family time. The best kinds of activities tend to be daily routines. Consider things like planned dinners together; helping children with homework; reading bedtime stories; cooking dinner together; etc.
5. Take time for daily renewal: This could also be referred to as recharging your spiritual batteries. It is very easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees as you slog through a daily schedule. Before long, you could become lost and start doubting yourself and questioning the basic premises about your life and your values. Block out even just half an hour each day for prayer or meditation, to read a few pages from an inspirational book or to listen to a cassette on self-improvement.
6. Watch your health: Keep yourself physically tuned up and in peak form, and avoid using alcohol or tobacco as stress relievers. This will make you more efficient, able to focus more on work, get by with less sleep, require fewer sick days and be overall more productive. There is a direct connection between physical fitness and work productivity. (A recent study showed absenteeism among workers who had a high level of cardiovascular fitness was 25% to 40% lower than for less physically fit workers.) Get regular exercise and achieve this even if it only means taking the dog for a half-hour walk each day. Also, learn to eat intelligently. Some foods give you energy, help strengthen your body; others drag you down. Talk to your doctor.
Remember, being a workaholic is not necessarily something that will eat up your life! It will do so only if you let it. Balancing your personal activities while having a very busy professional schedule is challenging and this is why it is something that not everybody can do. Prioritize, organize and enjoy your life!
Regina Inani, PHR
Senior Recruiting Specialist