Have you allowed your Good Work Ethic to become a Bad Habit ...?

In a discussion with another business owner the other day, we debated whether their 70+ hr work week had become a bad habit or was it necessary to achieve the outcomes required for the business.

The reason we entered this debate was the business owner was adamant that he did not have the time to participate in all his family activities or have time to pursue his hobbies.

When I reflect back on my senior management career in Corporate and then as a Business Owner, it dawned on me that I had allowed myself to become addicted to work (another word for bad habit) over a long period of time.

It first started out as starting earlier and finishing later every day. I even suspect it may have had something to do with a Personal Ethic of being the first to arrive and the last to leave, rightly or wrongly.  It then progressed to working Saturday's and then even into Sunday's.

In hindsight, I always made time for my kids planned activities, however, if I had not planned any family of hobby fulfillment time, then I tended to default straight back to going into work.

Brian Tracey wrote in his book 'Eat that Frog' that we will always have more on our To Do List than we can ever hope to achieve.  He also writes that we need to prioritise our To Do List and eat the ugliest frog first before completing the easier tasks on our list.  Brian also educates that we should categorize our list into Urgent, Important, delegate and delete categories.

In the debate I was having with the business owner, we discussed if he really needed to be spending the amount of time he was at work or whether it had become such a habit that he was now making excuses and/or finding reasons why he 'needed' to be ‘at work’.

Our next step is to have the owner complete a time study on exactly how he is spending his time at work, as my experience tells me that there will be a lot of work that he is doing that should be either delegated or deleted.  In addition, introducing a default diary and completing the next days To Do List the night before will help enable him to work more productively and as a result save a significant amount of time every week.

The other thing that I will be encouraging him to do is to find some new hobbies that will enable him to break the cycle of being at work for the sake of being ‘at work’.  When you plan ahead for your out of work activities, whether family or hobbies, this will go a long way towards breaking the work cycle habit.

For example, back in my corporate days when I really had allowed work to become a bad habit, my wife and I invested in a Kimberly Kamper trailer and the thing I committed to, to start breaking the bad habit of working, was to take a short break once per month and go camping somewhere.  This was a great catalyst for breaking the bad habit cycle.

Have you allowed your work to become a good or bad habit, I would love to receive your feedback.

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