I attended an innovative and uplifting conference recently in Kelowna, BC. Successful entrepreneur and local businessperson, Fred Sarkari, organized and hosted the event. There were about 7 speakers on the panel, all from a variety of industries. I was honoured to be invited as one of the speakers and to talk about work addiction.
I remember having a conversation with someone who asked about the role of passion amongst entrepreneurs. Her opinion was that passion for one’s work could be misinterpreted as being a symptom of work addiction. This is a great point and made me think about the following question: are people who over-work themselves (e.g., someone who works 60, 70, 80-hours plus per week) simply people who are passionate about their work? Or, do they really have a problem and are just turning work into an addiction?
I think there are two important distinctions to make. First, people who are addicted to their work often put work as the most important thing (and the only thing) in their lives. As a result, they usually have experienced negative consequences in their relationships, health, and feelings of connectedness with others. Work-addicts often get into arguments with their partners or loved ones because they do not spend any time connecting with them. They have replaced relationships to people with a relationship to work.
Secondly, work-addicts are actually quite inefficient employees. They may seem to be efficient employees because they’re always taking their work home with them and spend almost every waking moment on work-related activities. However, the truth is, they actually spend their time working on meaningless or unimportant details of their projects and often lack the ability to think about the “bigger picture.” As a result, work-addicts are often detailed-oriented and inefficient, whereas passionate workers produce higher quality work in a shorter amount of time and are able to see the bigger picture of what it is they are doing.
How do you know when you are spending too much time on your work? What are the signs in your life that you are over-working yourself? I would love to hear about your experiences.
(Dr. Bryan Robinson wrote “Work Addiction” in 1989. He provides some excellent insights on this topic. )
Update on my upcoming book, “Crossing the Line”
If you look at my list of blogs, you’ll notice that today’s entry is the first in over seven months (I can’t believe how quickly time has passed!). One of the reasons for the lack of blogging is because I’ve been using my spare time to work on my upcoming book, “Crossing the Line.” It will focus on teaching people how to monitor their bad habits and determine when their habits have “crossed the line” and become a problem or an addiction. The book will also provide a list of strategies and solutions for living life without bad habits. It’s expected to be available in the early part of 2013.
Hope your week is filled with much knowledge and growth.