Change the workaholic mindset to improve productivity

Many people are often in search of a strategy, tool, or productivity system that will help them to get more done. This is a good goal to have — afterall, who doesn’t want a set of habits that will help them cross stuff off their to-do list? In addition to actually accomplishing what you set out or agree to do, there’s a strong feeling of satisfaction you get when you actually pull it off on a regular basis.

On the other hand, it is possible this exuberant feeling you get from being productive can be taken to the extreme. You might crave that feeling so much that in your attempt to consistently recreate it, you end up working all the time. One could speculate that the need to work all the time is really about wanting to be in control. Others may characterize this as an addiction to working, even if the task you’re engrossed in is a worthwhile endeavor. Perhaps, work feels like a comfortable place to retreat to, a way to escape other parts of your life. No matter what the underlying reasons are, if you find yourself focusing on work tasks all the time, you are likely to be considered a workaholic.

On the surface, there may not seem to be a downside to spending a few extra hours at work each day, especially when you’re achieving the goals you set for yourself. But, keep in mind that you may be confusing working too much with having a strong work ethic. While both may require diligent effort and a reliance on core values, overworking likely includes a lack of discipline or the inability to stop working and recognize when it’s time to take a break. Here on Unclutterer, we’ve often extolled the benefits of taking mini-breaks throughout the work day as well as the positive effect exercise and sleep has on productivity. Certainly, if one is always working, there would be little or no time for either of those activities or any outside interests. Ultimately, this would lead to burnout.

In addition, an overly zealous worker is not beneficial to employers. Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D., author of Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them, explained:

A workaholic might seem to be every CEO’s dream: an employee who comes in early, stays late, doesn’t take vacations, and takes on mountains of work. But those very qualities may make the workaholic a poor candidate for employee of the month because they often have more work than they can handle effectively, don’t delegate, aren’t team players, and are often more disorganized …

If you’re taking on too much, it is possible that you may not realize it (take Dr. Robinson’s quiz). As I mentioned before, you may think you’re simply a hard worker. Of course, there may be times when you need to work extra hours. Business owners everywhere (myself included) understand this all too well. However, it is important to prioritize specific tasks and to recognize when it’s time to ask for help. The latter will not only allow you to streamline your focus, but also help you to be more productive.

2 Comments for “Change the workaholic mindset to improve productivity”

  1. posted by Nadine on

    Many years ago I bought a book called Workaholic – the acceptable addiction (or similar) so even some 20 years ago I knew I had a problem. I always took on too much, volunteered when others did not, decided to make 6 craft items for a sale and only made 2 or none! Then had the stuff for decades – yes it is still here! In the final years of my last job, I worked 10 hour days to close down the section which was being retrenched in order to ensure that no corporate knowledge was lost. I left that job and slept nearly 18 hours a day for over 2 months I was so exhausted. My house reflects that perfectionist/workaholic problem. Worse, I married one! He is learning to let go of work responsibilities, we don’t go to meetings if it looks like we may be tempted to volunteer, We are trying to downsize our responsibilities and gradually our clutter. My psychiatrist is so happy when I tell him I have said “no”. I tick so many boxes, Although I am organised, I live in clutter (which is not that much of a contradiction – but it is an artform), and find it very difficult to delegate. I am afraid stepping away from being a workaholic can be a long long journey.

  2. posted by Brad Kirsch on

    I have been my own victim of the under producing workaholic. I broke my thinking of I want everything accomplished yesterday. I Learned to be patient and to enjoy the journey.

    Scheduling is a great tactic to stay focused and productive.

    Schedule a task for 50 minutes and then 10 minutes to relax and clear your mind.

    You will be amazed at how much more productive you will be!!!!

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