I recently received a link to the article 7 Ways to be a a stress-free workaholic from a good friend of mine. Looking at the title I was glad that the article she sent didn't demand that I stop being a workaholic and pretend not to care about my career and general hard-work. Only fellow workaholics can ever understand this bittersweet life: the pull of exciting projects; the dampened spirits of loved ones who hardly see us during big projects and the sweetness of finishing, seeing the results and getting the reward.
After reading the article I decided to mirror its advice with my own workaholic tendencies and see if I could apply the seven tips to it.
1. Work your tail off when you have to, not when you don't
I have never -- since deciding what I wanted to achieve and what I would need to do to get there -- considered this. When there is work to be done, I do it. When current work is up to date I find new work. That's been my work ethic. But in the past year I've seen the reasoning behind doing my best and then allowing myself to take a break. Kind of. It's a work in progress.
"It's OK to kill yourself for a few weeks or months, as long as you chill out for a while when it's over."
2. Learn to give up--sort of.
This is one I've been working on for years and some days are better than others. I've accepted that staring at my computer or phone will not make the project flow better or faster.
"Once you relax, that's when inspiration flows--usually when you're lying in bed half asleep or in the shower."
3. Strategize and plan.
I live for lists. Checking and double-checking. Sometimes all that's needed to stop me stressing is a bit of perspective and a "where are we now?" sort of pow wow with the team.
"Get some time away from distractions--just you or with your team--and brainstorm, strategize, and plan."
4. Mix business with pleasure.
"Take breaks and goof around. Yes, it probably takes longer to get things done that way, but I would argue that higher morale increases effectiveness." These often happen after a project has been completed in my department.
5. Don't leave things for the last minute.
"You'd be amazed how much more relaxed you'll be if you plan to finish your pitch a day early or get to the airport a couple of hours before the flight." We have the saying that "deadline day is go day" this means we have to ready prior to it that way we're able to go on the deadline day if needs be.
6. Don't take it out on others.
"If you can't handle the stress, find an outlet that doesn't include taking it out on other living things." This is crucial! I need my team to be on my side, that way they're willing to go the extra mile for me. I also need my family and the boyfriend to like me during a project that way they can spoil me with hugs, baths and dinners.
7. Lots of outlets work--pick one or two.
"Learn to exercise, meditate, get outdoors, build things, play Scrabble, talk to someone--whatever works, do it." If I can fit 30 minutes on the treadmill and a good night's sleep on my Sealy bed then I'm pacified.
Are you a workaholic? You do you keep the stress away?