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For quite a while I called myself a workaholic. I was proud of the label. Then one day it hit me; a workaholic is a label for an unproductive person.-Mike Michalowicz
My thoughts are mixed about National Workaholics Day. On the one hand, I am a workaholic; on the other, I don’t want to be one. This presents a quandary for many people. Nobody WANTS to be a workaholic; we are driven to achieve our goals. I want a great life for my family with a reasonable amount of freedom to enjoy our time together. Unfortunately, Covid-19 and the resulting aftermath have made things more difficult for a lot of people. So I need to work a lot right now. However, I also work very hard to minimize the time I have to take away from my growing family by working smarter. My son is six years old. I do not want to miss this time with him, even if I have to work at night while he sleeps.
Workaholics are addicted to activity, super achievers are committed to results-Charles Garfield
The first and possibly most important task is to define what you want. If you don’t fully understand where you are headed, your aim towards your goal will be way off. I like vision boards or vision statements to clarify my purpose. They are something I can look at every day to remind myself what I am working to achieve. I get lost in the details daily; my overall vision is a reminder of the most important. It keeps me grounded and on track. So spend the time discovering what it is that you really want, be specific, and quantify it. The more details, the better. Only once you know where you are going are you ready to do the work to get there.
2-GET YOUR SYSTEMS IN PLACE
The key is to get your systems in place before you start hiring staff. Systems are your step-by-step guide on how to complete tasks. They are what differentiates your business from all others. Once you establish a system that works and it gives the desired result, write it down. The goal is to make the system reproducible by anyone. It is a lot of work upfront, but it will save you hours of work down the road. By doing the work ahead of time, you will also know what goes into each process. Regardless of whether you like a task, it is important to understand what is involved in it. It helps you monitor the progress of your contractors or employees and identify problems.
Workaholics don’t actually accomplish more than nonworkaholics. They may claim to be perfectionists, but that just means they’re wasting time fixating on inconsequential details instead of moving on to the next task.–David Heinemeier Hansson
Once you have your systems in place, it is time to delegate. I hire a staff of assistants to handle the time-consuming tasks, and I reserve my time for the most crucial tasks only I can handle. This does come with its own new set of issues. It adds a whole new dimension managing staff. It is also very time-consuming, and if you do not have your systems in place, it can take over. Do not skip step two in the process, or you will live to regret it. Instead of freeing up your time, it will become a time sink.
Every day I pick my top three tasks that need to be accomplished. These tasks are the ones that will have the biggest impact on my progress. Following Pareto’s Principle, they are the tasks that require 20% of effort to get 80% results. Therefore, those tasks become my focus for the day. Prioritizing tasks also helps you keep your eyes on the big picture. It is easy to get bogged down in the minutia and quickly become overwhelmed. By keeping an eye on the big picture, you can stay on task.
Every week it is important to make a date with the most important people in your life. First, you should make a date with each of your children. Plan a fun activity for just the two of you to share where you can focus on them fully. Next, make a date with your partner. It is just as important to check in with them weekly and reconnect. The final person you need to make a date with is yourself. We all need some time just for ourselves. If you don’t, you will burn out and will eventually be no good to anybody. It may feel like a lot, but you will never regret prioritizing those people most important to you. Set yourself firm boundaries for these dates and protect them and follow through.
Workaholism is an addiction, and like all addictions, it blocks creative energy.-Julia Cameron
You may feel you need to be a workaholic to get what you want, but that is not true. I fight it every day. The key is to be more productive with the time you do spend working. Avoid the rabbit holes and concentrate on the results you want to achieve. Test and document your systems so when the time comes, someone else can step in and help out without disrupting your whole system. Learn to delegate and protect your time. Limit work hours to the most productive tasks. Finally, prioritize the important people in your life. Please do it now because they will be grown or gone before you know it.