01:14 – Do these quotes ring true for you?
02:03 – Here are the stats
02:51 – Myths of workaholism
04:09 – Hard work vs. workaholism
05:36 – Beware of these consequences
06:40 – 5 steps to cure workaholism
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James Schramko here, welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. I’m really passionate about today’s topic. When does work ethic become overwork? You see, there are people out there who put in 12 hours or more of work a day, 7 days a week. Not because they have to, but because they want to. They can’t live without it. You might even be one of them. Hard work is an important ingredient of success, but it cannot be overdone. Part of the problem is that many people see workaholism as some kind of badge of honor. That’s why I wanted to do this podcast.
Quotes about hard work
Consider these quotes; you might have heard them:
“I do think I win because I outwork people. I really do believe that. I believe that 100%.” Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur who boasts about working 19-hour work days.
Or Donald Trump, an American business magnate. “If you’re interested in balancing work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work pleasurable.”
Or this one from Sloan Wilson, a novelist: “You’re not going too far unless you’re workaholic.”
And then there’s David Ogilvy, a famous advertising executive; “Hard work never killed a man. Men die of boredom, psychological conflict and disease. They do not die of hard work.”
Here’s another one from Donald Trump, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
Some revealing stats
Well here’s what the numbers say about growing workaholism: over 10 million Americans right now average more than 60 hours of work per week. One study by Expedia show that only 38% of U.S. employees were taking all their own vacation days. Even when people do take vacation days, 30% of people say they worry constantly about work while they’re trying to relax.
Researches in Spain predict that work ethics in the country will rise to 11.8% this year. 10% of high income earners work in average of 80 hours per week. In 1942, more than 80% of Americans slept 7 hours a night or more. Today, 40% sleep 6 hours or less. Here are 3 myths of workaholism that I want to address:
Myths of workaholism
Number 1, the myth that you’ll accomplish more. Workaholics tend to be less effective because it’s difficult for them to be team players. They have trouble delegating tasks, or they take on so much work that they lack organization. Also, as people work longer hours without rest, diminishing focus and energy result in less productivity. Former NASA scientists have found that people who take vacations experience an 82% increase in job performance upon their return, with longer vacations making more of an impact than short ones.
Here’s another myth: You must be a workaholic to succeed. There are financially successful people working less than 40 hours per week, and I’d put myself in that category. They’ve set up systems and learned to only do things where they can make the most difference, delegating the rest.
Here’s myth number 3: No one ever died of hard work. Really? Well, there’s a word in Japan, karoshi, meaning death from overwork, estimated to cause around 1,000 deaths per year, and almost 5% of Japan’s stroke and heart attack deaths in employees below 60.
Hard work vs. Workaholism
Let’s talk about the difference between hard work and workaholism. Hard work is not bad. On the contrary, the most successful people are usually those who worked hard to get where they are, but past a certain point, work can become a compulsion. Something done not out of enjoyment or reward, but because a person for unhealthy reasons cannot do without it. I think that’s the problem with some of the modern-day heroes who bang their chest and say how much they work. Let’s look at some of the differences.
If you’re a hard worker, then here’s 5 things that might be true for you:
Work is a necessary and sometimes pleasurable part of life. Family and friends sometimes take precedence over work. You take breaks from work, and you play just as hard as you work. You enjoy good health most of the time, have a balanced life with many interests and social connections. Meeting deadlines is simply part of running the business.
Now if you’re a workaholic, here are 5 things that might ring true:
Work is escape from certain feelings, such as anxiety or low self-esteem and relationships. Work is important over all else including family and friends. You think of leisure as a waste of time. You don’t maintain social ties, and have few interests outside work, and have frequent health problems. Lives for the high adrenaline rush of meeting difficult deadlines.
Consequences of overwork
Now, here are some of the consequences of overwork:
Too much work has adverse effects on one’s physical, mental and emotional well-being as shown by the following findings:
- People working 11 hours or more a day have a 67% greater chance of coronary heart disease than those working 7 or 8 hours.
55% of workaholics’ marriages fail because of physical and emotional estrangement.
Workers who chronically work overtime have a 61% increased risk of injury or illness over those who work reasonable hours.
- You only have to look at some of those videos of said workaholics, and you’ll those black rings under the eyes and constant swear words because they’re tired and they don’t have the ability to choose better words.
- In the Netherlands, a study found that 33% of workaholics have regular headaches caused by job stress. It’s not uncommon for workaholics to have stress-induced illnesses, chronic fatigue and increased anxiety levels.
Here’s how you cure workaholism:
Because workaholism is a deeply-ingrained compulsion, it takes commitment and a change of mindset to overcome it. You can start with these steps:
Number 1, gradually cut down on the number of hours you work. You might begin by committing not to work on weekends or by setting a reasonable cut off time each day. Learn to forego unimportant tasks or delegate work. I’d recommend the tool RescueTime. It will show you how long you spend on the computer. Definitely take at least one day off a week. I insist it for my high level SilverCircle Mastermind students. I won’t let them work 7 days a week because I know they’re going to be blunt.
Number 2, schedule recreation. Set aside time even just a brief period to have fun each day. In my case, I want to surf every single day, and I do, and that’s because surfing is a part of my calendar.
Step 3, choose a hobby that contrasts with your work. If you’re in front of a computer all day, consider pursuing outdoor activities during your time off. Again, surfing is great because there’s no tech. You don’t need a Wi-Fi connection to do it. It’s very analog, it’s very Zen, and you can just get your body moving. Something like that would be great.
Step 4, spend time with people. Look for at least one activity that you can share with family or friends.
Step 5, refuse to feel guilty. Everyone’s entitled to a break. Our minds and bodies need it. Learn to enjoy your time away from work. Here’s one way that really helped me think about this: when I am floating around on the surfboard, or watching a movie, or reading a book, or listening to music, my brain doesn’t stop. It’s still active, but I’m able to just let it go from the main work problem. Quite often, I’ll be able to solve things while I’m in my down time, my off time, like all the greats. Most of them used to sleep or do something other than work to come up with their eureka moment.
So I want to acknowledge a few sources to put together this particular podcast. I got some information from psychologytoday.com. Also brandongaille.com, newsonrelevantscience.blogspot.com, careercast.com, healthy.net, livecareer.com and newrepublic.com. There are also some really good books on the subject, like “The Promise of Sleep.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast. In fact, if you know someone who works too much, please send them to this podcast. I’d love your comments, and I hope this has an impact because if I see one more person champion a workaholic on Facebook, it’s just going to make me frustrated because it’s the wrong goal. I would say this, if you’re working 19 hours a day, how successful are you really? Or does that make you about the biggest failure in the world? Hope this podcast resonates.
If you feel you’re working too much and not getting the results you need, and you’d like some help designing a better lifestyle, then perhaps I can help. Join SuperFastBusiness Membership, and let me coach you through building your subscription business online so that you can cut down the amount of hours you work each day or each week. Get some time off, travel a little bit, and build a lifestyle that is something you can sustain for a longer period. You’ll get lots of rejuvenation, you can do fun things everyday, and I’m there to help. Come and join SuperFastBusiness.com/membership. I’ll see you inside.
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