Have you ever thought to yourself, "I'll never be a workaholic, I value my time too much", and then found yourself working after dinner or at weekends? You're not alone, especially if you're a small business owner. Trust me, I've not only been there, I AM there.
I used to enjoy switching off at the end of each day, but that's a luxury these days. I think the rise and rise of technology puts more pressure on all of us to be connected, to be always available. I'm sure you've had people leave repeated text messages, voice messages or emails for you, wondering why you are out of range for an hour or two. You could be in a meeting or conference, but whatever the reason you're simply not there when people want you to be.
The trouble is, many of us put up with it.
- let people ring you outside business hours - have mobile phone, will travel...er, be available?
- check your emails before going to bed?
- check your emails before breakfast?
- stuck in meetings all day, you work into the night to catch up on projects and tasks?
- view weekends as the perfect time to work without constant interruptions from mobile phones and emails?
- use your smartphone or tablet to check your email/professional social media accounts at restaurants?
- work when you're on holiday - after all, most hotels and resorts have good broadband, so why not catch up on work?
If you've said yes to at least one of these, you're well on your way to workaholism.
It's time to take stock, fellow workaholics. The old cliche that nobody ever went to their grave muttering that they should have spent more time at the office is very true.
Finding the courage to switch off is the hard part. How do you put your foot down and change the status quo when people are used to you being available constantly?
If you can manage to minimise your meetings, you'll free up time. See if your clients or colleagues are willing to conference call on Skype
rather than meet in person. It's more likely you'll stick to the agenda if you're not chatting face to face.
Working from home can keep the interruptions down too if you're able to do it. If you're not sitting at your desk in a corporate office then nobody can walk past it and interrupt you.
If you're using Tungle
to organise appointments, block one day a week off and turn off the phone. Use that day to work on your projects so you can have a night or weekend off. On a corporate Outlook system, same thing - block a day off.
Often corporate cultures require their employees to work over and above the standard eight hours a day; it impresses the bosses and makes you look like you want to go further up the corporate ladder. Think about this: if you're working an extra hour a day with no overtime or salary increase or other appropriate benefits, the only entity doing well out of the situation is the company/your boss. You, my friend, are getting ripped off in your efforts to adhere to corporate culture and play the company game. Is it worth it? Really? Is there a possibility that if you get promoted you could change the corporate culture to allow your people in your department including yourself to work reasonable hours? Again, technology has changed the corporate culture to make us work longer and harder, simply because the tools are there to enable it.
So...what are your thoughts on workaholism? Is it affecting you? If so, what have you done about it? Have you changed jobs? Importantly, have your managed to change your lifestyle to one that lets you relax when you need to?