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7 Reasons Why Your Workaholic Nature Is Harming You And Those Around You

7 Reasons Why Your Workaholic Nature Is Harming You And Those Around You

There have been quite a few articles recently saying that workaholism can be good for you! They claim that workaholics are unique in displaying dedication, energy, and drive. Obviously, I do not agree as an ex-workaholic myself. Workaholics are actually harming themselves and their families and friends. Here are 7 reasons why workaholism is definitely not a good idea.

1. Your health will suffer

Just think. If you are the type who has to skimp on sleep, meals and exercise because of your workaholic addiction, what is the result? Poor health, of course. Researchers at the Kansas State University have found that there is a startling reduction in physical and mental health when 50 hour weeks become the norm. The study took a sample from over 12,000 workers who were interviewed on a yearly basis between the years 1979 through 1994.

2. Your productivity suffers

Strange isn’t it? We have been raised to think that long hours are a sign of a really productive and dedicated employee. It is the old Protestant work ethic which still persists to this day. The opposite seems to be the case, however. Numerous studies show that long hours are synonymous with declining energy, concentration, poor decision making, and awful results.

According to the International Labor Organization, over 600 million workers are clocking up 48 hour working weeks and their productivity is suffering. Peru, Republic of Korea and Thailand are at the top of the list.

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One human resources company, Bamboo HR, insists that the maximum number of working hours a week is 40. They are very strict about this and the policy has paid off in that there is no burnout among their employees. They all leave they office at 5.p.m.on the dot. They decided this after seeing marriages break up and managers being hospitalized.

‘We trade a strict adherence to a 40-hour workweek for all employees in return for their commitment to making all of those hours productive and efficient.’- Ryan Sanders, co-founder of Bamboo.

3. Your working timetable is all over the place

If you insist on getting up very early and keeping irregular hours at the office, then you are in for a few nasty surprises. You will be more prone to irritability, your creativity will suffer and your morale will take a dive.

The best solution is to work towards setting clear boundaries between your work and your home life. You have to schedule in time for some quite time, exercise, or just relaxing and listening to music. Some employees are lucky enough to have napping facilities. These things can help to set limits.

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4. You are a perfectionist

Lots of workaholics are suffering from micro-managing and perfectionism which make things a lot worse. There is a dangerous side effect of this in that it can lead to a mindset which is all or nothing. There are no compromises and the task at hand is either going to be a success or a total failure.

If you are a perfectionist, there is a possibility that there are underlying mental health issues. These can range from anxiety and depression, to eating disorders and substance abuse.

The best solution is to try and change your mindset. There is, after all, a possibility of failure and this should not be forgotten. This means setting more realistic objectives and breaking the task down into smaller mini tasks.

5. You are neglecting leisure and pleasure

When workaholics stop enjoying themselves and their only satisfaction is reaching work deadlines, then there is something terribly wrong. They are likely to run themselves into the ground with disastrous consequences for themselves and the company.

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I know all about this as I ended up in hospital twice because I was incapable of putting these simple suggestions into practice. I was under enormous pressure and stress won the battle. But I risked my health. Lesson learned the hard way!

Try to set time and energy for doing things that you love such as taking your kids out, going to the gym or attending a school event. Another solution is to make sure that you are not available by iPhone or email. Urgent calls can wait till tomorrow.

6. You cannot switch off your laptop on vacation

How many workaholics do you know who go on holiday with their laptop? They are in touch with the office and they are always answering emails and urgent calls, You wonder why they bothered to waste money on the plane ticket.

The great thing when you switch off completely is that you can try out delegating which will give you a great way of assessing your staff. In addition, you will discover that there is life when you switch off your devices. Real life, relaxation, beauty, good food and wine, glorious sunshine are all waiting for you.

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7. You let work define you

This is all you are. Work defines you and boxes you in. Time to make a break. Just think about how many marriages break up because of workaholism. It makes sense because if you are married to your job, it gets tough being married to a real person.

You are also stressing those colleagues who have to work with you. This was the result of a study carried out by the International Journal of Stress Management.

It will not be easy to escape the workaholism addiction, quite frankly. Recognizing that you may have a problem is the first step. The second step is to repeat to yourself that long hours are unproductive. Let your mantra be: ‘work smarter, not harder’.

Featured photo credit: The workaholic NSA/ herval via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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