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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Love: Workaholism...How Detrimental?

Jewel of wisdom du jour: Time is what we want most...but what we use worst. - William Penn

As a young entrepreneur who’s starting to come into his own, I often find it difficult to find a good balance between trying to build my brand and my responsibilities as a husband and father. There are times I find myself glued to my laptop so long that hours have passed and I've completely blocked out what’s going on around me because I’m trying to get “just one more thing done”. And when I finally take a break and look up from the computer screen, I look over to the couch to find my wife and son fast asleep. Then it dawns on me, “I just spent the last six hours basically ignoring my family until they fell asleep”.

Rarely do I hear complaints from my wife about the amount of time I spend trying to build my brand because she knows I’m doing it for us. But there are times when I even get disgusted with myself because of the inordinate amount of time I spend working. I guess to an extent I try to justify it like anyone else would say, “If I put in this much time now…I won’t have to in the future.” But we all know that’s not true.

So what I wanted to focus on this week is how mismanaging our time could have a negative impact on our relationships and families. Over time this type of behavior can start to cause partners to drift away from each other. So what can be done from the workaholic’s perspective to improve things?

  1. Examine the work that you do and whether the amount of time you’re putting into it is really beneficial. If you find yourself sitting on the computer for hours, but not many really tangible benefits are being achieved, you’re kind of wasting important time that could be spent with your partner.
  2. Minimize how many projects you’re trying to accomplish all at the same time. Working on too many different things at once ensures nothing but being overly busy while accomplishing very little. Itemize the tasks you need to get done and list them in levels of importance and then work through your list in an efficient manner.
  3. Set aside an entire day where you do nothing work related. You rest and spend time with your significant other. I know that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re trying to build a brand or get a business off the ground, but it’s absolutely essential for the health of your relationship that your partner know that they still are important to you.
  4. Don’t set unrealistic deadlines on your goals. When you try to force yourself to meet deadlines that aren't really realistic, it forces you to have to work longer hours than you really need to…therefore pushing everything else of importance in your life…straight to the back burner.
  5. Ask yourself this question: “If I was to die in my sleep tonight…what would be my biggest regret?” Most people on their deathbed aren’t regretting the lack of time they spend in the office or securing their financial future…they regret the lack of quality time they’ve spent with their loved ones. I know this is a little bit of a somber thing to think about, but by thinking about that periodically it can really help to push our priorities into their proper places.
So try to keep this in mind…Rome wasn’t built overnight, and neither will your entrepreneurial effort. So taking one night off to spend some quality time with your partner won’t kill your business. However, refusing to do so…over time…could very well kill your relationship.

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