Hi, I’m a workaholic. I’d like to say that I only became one when I became an entrepreneur but that would not be true. In fact, I think I’ve probably always been one. I used to tell people that I worked just enough to pay the bills and therefore a lot of work was required but that probably would not be true either. You would probably find this strange but I actually enjoy working and the consistent challenge that it creates. Work gives me purpose, allows me to set goals, knock them down, and set new goals. Unfortunately, there are days when I leave the office and all I am really thinking about is knocking out more work when I get home. As an entrepreneur, I can get away with a certain level of excess working because there is a certain level of expectation that comes with the territory. However, is that behavior really healthy.
Recently, I’ve started to realize that sometimes I’m working just to work but not necessarily actually accomplishing anything. Sure I’m logging tons of hours but was not really working towards a particular goal. There were days where I couldn’t get my brain to shut down so I turned to work in order to tire myself out. Luckily, I’ve not necessarily turned to alcohol to facilitate shutting myself down but I have tried activities that require zero brain power like television and games to try to help the shutting down process. However, that daily pattern, eventually, resulted in an unfair imbalance in my life. While my focus was on meeting my needs, I was neglecting those around me who wanted my attention too. The first time I really stopped to take notice was when I started to get frustrated with my son’s behavior. The less focus I provided to my son the more likely his behavior would be disruptive and frustrate me. In addition, the more frequently he asked me when I was coming home or whether I was going to work the next day. It really hit me the actual impact my obsession with work had on those around me. After that moment I’ve tried to be more intentional with my activities. That meant only scheduling late evenings a 2-3 times maximum per week. It also meant leaving the computer bag and phone in the car once I got home. Now if I have more work that requires my attention or I feel the need to work more then I do that once everyone is in bed.
Do these changes make me any less of a workaholic? Absolutely not! It’s part of my DNA and being a workaholic has certain benefits that I actually enjoy. However, by being conscious of the behavior I’m exhibiting at times and trying to develop mechanisms for managing it then I’m able to focus on those around me who need my time and attention. So now when my daughter jumps in my arms when I come home, I try to focus on whatever she’s trying to tell me and not on the mountain of work left for me to do.