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Are you a workaholic?

I recently read ‘Work Smarter Not Harder’ by Jack Collis and thought I would share some of the insights over a series of posts for your views.

This week I will look at some myths associated with the views of the workaholic who thinks they have to work so hard to make money, or they are the only ones who can do anything a common business owners mistake! As we develop into the adults that we are, we tend to get ‘programmed’ into believing certain ‘myths’ are true, and in turn this impacts our behaviours, especially when it comes to work or business. The challenge for the workaholic is to realise these aren’t always the case, and to dis spell these myths to add back some quality work-life balance.


1. The more you sweat, the more you get– we all feel to succeed we must work hard. While this may have some relevance there are usually other factors that you don’t consider such as planning, process, good people around you etc. You can also work hard and not succeed. Think working hard on a relationship to end in divorce! Hard work is not a key driver to success or failure, just one potential aspect to put in balance.

2. Activity equals productivity– it’s not about being busy it’s about what are you being busy doing? The corporate world is full of this where people love to give the perception that they are busy when in fact they achieve nothing. activity should be based on results, not productivity. Jack Collis refers to the French Foreign legion philosophy of “When in doubt, gallop”.

3. Efficiency means effectiveness– effectiveness must precede efficiency. How do you know the best way to do something if you don’t know what the end goal is?

4. Burn the midnight oil– another corporate and small business trap. Working all day and night and weekends won’t guarantee efficiency or success, it is a sure-fire path to breakdown, marriage failure, time away from family etc.

5. The best way to get a job done is to do it yourself– this is usually a money-saving idea as it seems cheaper to do it yourself v.s paying someone. The truth is you may not be skilled, may not be the most efficient or it takes you away from working on your business vs. spending time in it -a common trap. Lose the ego and surround yourself with people who have complimentary skills.

6. The easy way is the best way- the shortcuts to life don’t always bring the best results and the leave tomorrow up for grabs. All jobs have a solution and a structured process needs to be applied. Remember that the tick box approach to get lots done may result in the short-term gain= long-term damage outcome!

7. Hard work is virtuous– hard work doesn’t always represent good work, so look at the outcome and results instead of the time, effort and perceived amount of work applied.

8. Work is not fun- if you don’t love what you do-change it! The old perception is work is a punishment but those who truly perform in any area love what they do and have a balanced outlook to work and life.

9. There’s only one best way- a good rule of thumb is there are always at least two ways to do something, both can be right, you can clean a car with cloth or a brush, both get a clean car. Remove the old school thinking that there is only one right or wrong answer and think outside the box for creativity.

10. More discipline means less freedom– we tend to think of them as at opposite ends of the spectrum discipline is bad, freedom is good, but need to learn this isn’t the case. For example high freedom and high discipline can mean high self-discipline such as high goals, set strategies,and order which then allows time to give more freedom and personal time. Organisation will give time.

11. We work best under pressure– The trap I found myself in when studying, the famous last due date late night assignment, but in reality it is a strategy of procrastination. Last minute focus means more chance for error,  no room for delays or hurdles and a risk of underperformance. Planning and having discipline to allocate time will prevent this myth.

For the workaholics out there, review the myths above and see how many you are guilty of. Can you challenge yourself to change in any of the areas. Will placing process or planning help you in creating a work plan?

There is help available out there to those who feel they are trapped, it’s just a matter of making a decision to change.

Good luck!

Tony Ozanne

Small Fish Business Coaching Canberra

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