According to “Psychology Today”, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime. That’s a lot of meeting for meetings to schedule your next meeting. I feel your pain too.
The truth is, we will spend A LOT of time at work. And unfortunately, not all companies have the culture or progressive mindset to create work-life balance within the workplace. According to the Quality of Working Life Report, 25% of employees say work is their main source of stress and 40% say their job is “very or extremely stressful.”
But the key here is to not wait for your company to create balance in your work life. Instead, you have the opportunity to take charge!
Because we all know stress + unhappiness + workaholic tendencies = low performer.
Don’t let this happen to you! Here are 10 signs you are a workaholic but not a high performer.
1. You chase feverishly after nothing.
One of the most common signs you are a workaholic but not a high performer is that you work like a dog — long days, long weeks, long projects that seemingly focus on nothing tangible. It’s like watching a dog chase their tail.
High performing people are goal oriented, while workaholics are volume oriented. As in, “wow, look how much we accomplished” instead of “wow, look what we accomplished.”
As Henry David Thoreau put it, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
2. You never pull back on the throttle.
Go, go, go is your motto! Like life, energy is not infinite. However, workaholics will literally work themselves to exhaustion — and then try to work some more. High performers leverage awareness to know when to turn it up or down a notch.
3. You put everyone else’s needs before your own.
Don’t be a martyr. High performing people recognize and understand that it’s okay to put their needs in front of someone else from time to time because in doing so, they provide the best version of themselves.
Workaholics, however, tend to be selfless in nature but in doing so often over-extend and create an unsustainable version of themselves.
4. You focus 100% of your energy on things you have absolutely no control over.
At the end of the day, time is really all we have in life. Unfortunately, workaholics will spend a majority of their time placing their energy into things they cannot control – income, outcomes, coworkers, etc.
High performers are naturally their own critical judges as they focus much of their time on their effort. They eat, breathe, and sleep the mantra “the best version of you.”
5. Your day is comprised of reacting to “things.”
When you walk into work every morning, do you go in with a game plan and build your day around the most important tasks, or do you let others dictate how your day will go? If it’s the latter, then you might be a workaholic. High performing people are the drivers of their schedule, workaholics sit shotgun.
Tony Robbins was once famously quoted asking the question, “How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I am committed to?”
Perhaps you should ask yourself this question too.
6. You allow others to determine your worth.
This is a tricky one, especially for Millennials. Workaholics crave external validation – supervisors, colleagues, and friends. They just want some praise! Unfortunately this is a very similar characteristic of Millennials, as many were raised during the “and you get a trophy for breathing” era.
High performers, on the other hand, recognize their own self-worth and thus create feedback loops to continue to develop and grow professionally. Again, being proactive instead of reactive.
As the great Walt Disney said, “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.”
7. You constantly find yourself unhappy with your results, even after obtaining a goal.
If you use the word “enough” in a negative connotation in your work life, you are probably a workaholic. This isn’t good enough, I am not good enough, and there isn’t enough time in the day – enough, enough, enough…enough!
High performing people value and recognize the margin needed for success regardless of whether it’s a little or a lot.
8. You become judgmental of your colleague’s work ethic.
Workaholics obviously put in a lot of extra hours at work “to get the job done.” However, in doing so, many often become judgmental of their counterparts, as they focus on quantity and not quality.
A high performer’s number one goal is to do business – and recognize that business will come in waves. A workaholic’s number one goal is to be busy, and if they feel other people aren’t “busy,” then they aren’t putting in maximum effort.
9. You eat every meal at your desk.
The key is to work smarter, not harder. Workaholics tend to believe harder is smarter, and because of that they don’t see the value in intermittent periods of renewal in their days. High performers know the value of taking time for themselves throughout the day, especially when it comes to replenishing energy stores.
10. You work all the time and hardly ever get promoted.
When it came to your last review time, were you passed up on a promotion? Did your supervisor use phrases like “you definitely worked a lot” or “you get a lot done,” but then struggled to pinpoint specific, impactful achievements of yours?
If this sounds like your last review, then you may be a workaholic too. High performers will frequently get promoted – not only because of what they did, but what they can do moving forward. And you can’t be visionary and talk about what you “can do” if you are stuck in the weeds all of the time.