Are You a Workaholic?

Time Management WorkaholicAre you a workaholic? Do you walk that fine line between loving your job and being obsessed with your job? A workaholic, in short, is someone who is addicted to work, not simply an ambitious person who works hard. Knowing the difference is important.

A hard worker is motivated and driven, but enjoys a healthy personal life as well. A workaholic places work above all other priorities and craves it even when trying to “relax.”   So how do hard workers avoid becoming workaholics? Try these 5 tips:

1. Find a Hobby

It’s easy to let yourself work all day and night when you have nothing better to do. Learn an instrument, write a book, refinish furniture, join a community sports team, or just find an author you love and make a reading list. Facebook and email are not hobbies.

2. Unplug

Just because we have the ability to be constantly connected doesn’t mean we should. Looking at your smartphone every 5 seconds not only destroys your ability to focus, but it makes your work take longer and allows work to encroach on your personal time. This week, I am taking the 24 hour smartphone challenge during which I will go a whole day without my little addicting pocket computer. Subscribe to The Time Diet to read about my experience next week!

3. Delegate

“If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.” That phrase is responsible for so much wasted time and stress. You are a not a super human and you don’t have to do everything yourself! Don’t be afraid to ask for help and make the time investment to set up that helper for success.

4. Learn to Say No

We hard-working types have a hard time saying no because we like helping people and we know we have the ability to do so. Just because you have the ability and the willingness doesn’t mean you have the time.

5. Make a Stop Time

In my time management trainings, I tell procrastinators to make a “Start Date” for each “Due Date” in their calendar. Workaholics don’t have a problem with starting. They have a problem with stopping! When you sit down to be productive, define your work parameters by setting a stop time when you will allow yourself to stop thinking about work.

Achieving that elusive work/life balance is tricky, especially for work hard working, motivated people, but it can be done!

Looking for a time management book that will help add balance to your day? Check out The Time Diet: Digestible Time Management on Amazon and Kindle!

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Hitting The Wall

This week, I was reminded of why it is so important to plan Desserts into your day. My husband was gone all this week in Italy for business (poor guy right??) so I decided I was going to get as much of my work done as possible while the house was empty so I could relax a bit when he got back. The first few days were great! I was plowing through tasks left and right! Keynote presentation? Finished! Book proposal? Edited! Garage? Organized! I was a productivity machine.

Then, by day 4, I started to hit a wall. I could feel it coming, but I ignored all the warning signs. I should have noticed my lack of focus, picked up on my growing frustration and took an evening off, but I continued to plow forward. By day 6, it was all over. Halfway through Saturday morning, somewhere between editing an article and gathering research, I hit a wall so hard I’m pretty sure even my dog picked up on it. The exhaustion became too much and I just wanted to scream. I slammed my laptop down, grabbed my Snuggie and curled up on the coach to watch 3 hours of The Food Network (in my next life, I’m pretty sure I want to be a cake decorator). In other words- it ended up being pretty much the most pathetic waste of an afternoon ever.

While sometimes it’s tempting to work until you can’t work anymore, once you’ve gone until you can go no further, you’ve gone too far! It’s why many diet experts tell you to stay on top of your hunger. If you wait until you’re starving to eat, you’ll just end up stuffing yourself at mealtime. A different approach is to have smaller snacks throughout the day to keep yourself going. The same is true for The Time Diet. Rather than keep pushing forward with my work, I should have planned a few Desserts each day to keep my stress level in check. I was so focused on the one big Dessert at the end of the week (my husband coming home) that I forgot to plan smaller enjoyable things throughout the week to keep me sane.

Instead, I pushed myself too hard and hit a wall at the worst possible time- Saturday. Here I have the whole day free and I can’t even capitalize on it because I’m so worn out and frustrated that the thought of looking at my work again makes me want to say things that my Grandmother would not approve of.  I vow to never again forget the cardinal rule of The Time Diet- everything in moderation. It’s not about doing less work, it’s about interspersing your Meats and Vegetables with those fun Desserts that make life enjoyable. Now excuse me while I go chow down on a hot fudge sundae.

Did you miss last week’s video blog? Check it out here!