“If I had more time, I’d have more fun,” we tell ourselves. Or, “If I had more time, I’d knit/paint/write a novel/fill in the blank.”
Time is an equal opportunity provider. Every one of us, regardless of age, sex, race, or religion, has the same 24 hours a day. How we use those hours determines our success. On the one hand, we know that working long, hard hours is a characteristic of most successful people.
On the other hand, we understand that working that way gives us little pleasure and less time to pay attention to family, friendship, intellectual stimulation, etc.
You can be successful in business without sacrificing personal relationships. You can make money and art too. You can accomplish your major goals in all of life’s four most important dimensions:
1. your health-building goals
2. your wealth-building goals
3. your social responsibilities
4. your personal aspirations
To do so, you’ve got to follow a productivity plan that recognizes that (1) achieving any important goal takes time, (2) at any specific period of time in your life you must establish priorities and give primary attention to your top goals, (3) many of the problems that prioritizing may cause can be limited by respectful scheduling and thoughtful communication, and (4) as opportunities change, so must your objectives.
You must also recognize that the way you work right now may be working against you. The workaholic pattern might help you accomplish your primary goal, but will usually leave your other goals in a shattered heap.
Begin, today, by taking this self-administered quiz by Julia Cameron to help you figure out if you have workaholic habits. Answer “seldom,” “often,” or “never” to the following:
1. I work outside of office hours.
2. I cancel dates with loved ones to do more work.
3. I postpone outings until the deadline is over.
4. I take work with me on vacations.
5. I take work with me on weekends.
6. I take vacations.
7. My intimates complain that I always work.
8. I try to do two things at once.
9. I allow myself free time between projects.
10. I allow myself to achieve closure on tasks.
11. I procrastinate in finishing up the last loose ends.
12. I set out to do one job and start on three more at the same time.
13. I work in the evenings during family time.
14. I allow calls to interrupt — and lengthen — my workday.
15. I prioritize my day to include an hour of creative work/play.
16. I place my creative dreams before my work.
17. I fall in with others’ plans and fill my free time with their agendas.
18. I allow myself down time to do nothing.
19. I use the word “deadline” to describe and rationalize my workload.
20. Going somewhere, even to dinner, with a notebook or my work numbers is something I do.
“There is a difference between zestful work toward a cherished goal and workaholism,” says Cameron. “That difference lies less in the hours than it does in the emotional quality of the hours spent. There is a treadmill quality to workaholism. We depend on our addiction and we resent it. For a workaholic, work is synonymous with worth, and so we are hesitant to jettison any part of it.”