By Pieter Scholtz, Business and Award Winning Executive coach and co-owner of business coaching firm – ActionCOACH
Weekends are usually days of rest but for workaholics the day of rest never comes. There is always unfinished work; one more email to read and one more phone call to make that simply can’t wait until Monday.
Ask yourself this. “If your business was like a formula 1 pit team: how successful do you think you would be? Would you be the team manager calmly orchestrating the events from the safety of the pit wall directing others or would you be the one running round doing every job trying to make sure it’s done well, getting in everybody’s way but feeling good about yourself because you’re always busy. Then does the car still go out late and with only three wheels?
A common problem facing families is an absent husband or wife and dad or mom due to ‘workaholism’. Often, to workaholics business is all about busyness.
While we all know in theory that it’s less time consuming to work smarter rather than harder, the reality is we tend not to practise it.
Here are the signs of a Workaholic:
Your laptop goes on holiday with you.
You can’t turn your cell phone off at night or on the weekends for fear of what you might miss
You struggle to sleep at night because you mind is turning over like the engine of a formula 1 car
You don’t feel well, but a sick day in bed is not negotiable
You start things but leave them unfinished
You working late at night and/or during the weekends
You pray the clock hands will start to go in reverse
You stand accused of not listening to other people
Even though the business is mature enough to employ staff, you are convinced you can do it quicker and better.
When people start a business, there’s a real buzz from working for themselves and getting things off the ground. They run on high amounts of adrenaline, pumped up, working long hours and overcoming great challenges. Their destiny is in their own hands and they set off with a dream that inspires them. Every win they make imprints on their subconscious mind linking working hard with success. In the early stages, new business owners have to work hard because there’s nobody else to do the work if they don’t. All of these factors tend to breed the workaholic.
Just like an alcoholic, business owners keep doing what they know is bad for them. The last person to realise what is happening is the person with the problem. Also like an alcoholic, it’s the people around them, like their families that suffer the most. They get neglected, friends become acquaintances and their staff members, if they have any, are often driven away if they too aren’t workaholics.
The signs are quite clear as I mentioned above but if you need help to see them ask someone else who’s close to you to be brutally honest.
So if you are a workaholic, what can you do? The steps are similar to addressing any addiction. The first step is to become aware you are a workaholic. Then repeat after me: “My name is ‘so and so’ and I am a workaholic”.
Once you have accepted you have a problem, take ownership of the situation. Realise that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you always got – an unbalanced existence.
It takes 21 times to create a good habit and the longer you have been a workaholic, the longer it will take you to change your bad habits.
Get clear on what type of life you want to lead. Ask yourself how many hours per day, days per week and weeks per year you want to work. Plan out what needs to happen each quarter in order to reduce your work hours. Work out what you would rather be doing instead of working all the time? This is really important because if you don’t have something you like better, you will continue working 24/7 and eventually burn out. Then start putting staff in place and delegating so that eventually you are working on the business and not in the business. (710 words)
Pieter Scholtz is the Co-Master Franchisor in Southern Africa for ActionCOACH, the fastest growing and largest business coaching company globally. Pieter and his partner Harry Welby-Cooke developed ActionCOACH across Southern Africa, which now boasts over 40 franchisees. He is also a certified, leading business and executive coach. He has successfully assisted countless business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills. www.actioncoach.co.za / 012 665 1015