Can you achieve your goals without being a workaholic?

By April 30, 2008 Blog

The other day I wrote about working and doing too much, workaholics, being in the now and my friend Joe Vitale and his recent health scare. Many people, especially Americans, have come to believe that we have to work all the time. Longer and longer work weeks, less time for relaxing, more stress…is that what life is meant to be? How did we get to this point?

Sadly, it is not just what people do to keep up, many truly believe that is what you have to do to succeed and must do to be a virtuous, “good” person. Whether it is society, parents or school telling us hard work builds ‘character’ or the media telling us we need more TV’s, newer cars and bigger breasts that drives people to work, it is extracting joy from life.

Here is an example of someone I know personally. We used to go to the house of a friend of mine and spend one or 2 nights every other weekend. We had a blast. Chris and I would mastermind with her and her husband all night. We would cook, talk, share ideas, laugh, cry, support each other and have a great time. We would always come away with new ideas, new insights and a deeper friendship. We have seen them now only once in 8 months. She is too busy working. She works 16 hours and more a day for her job (she works from her home, but for someone else). If she isn’t working for her employer, she is working for herself, producing products and trying to keep up with 2- 3 new websites she has created. Recently we tried to get together with them and she said they couldn’t because on top of all this she was doing their taxes. So for weeks before April 15th, she was even busier, doing her own taxes.

For months over the holidays she was sleeping in her home office for a few hours at a time, and never even went to her bedroom to sleep. I think there were days in a row she worked 20 hours a day, maybe longer. Her husband was in his home office and they barely saw each other. This has been going on for 2 years that we know of, and to one degree or another for years before that. She declined joining us this past weekend, on a Saturday night, for Chris’ birthday dinner with a group of friends. It was at a lovely restaurant only a few miles from her house, but she stated she was way too busy and had to work all weekend. Too busy to take 2-3 hours off to eat and laugh with friends!?

Is this a life? I don’t think so. I have ben there. I won’t do that anymore. I won’t put off living for another day because I think I will reach some ‘place’, some goal, and then it will all be fine and i will be happy and have fun then. Never happens.

Perhaps you or people you know do not work quite that many hours a day. But how much do you work? Do you miss your kids events or just being there for them? Do you spend time everyday enjoying your loved ones, yourself, the world around you? I used to work 13 hours a day. I used to put my kids to bed and then stay up most of the night working, after working all day. I was proud of the fact i could sleep so little and work such long hours. I felt like I never got it all done. Like I had some end finish line, that if and when I go there, then I could live and enjoy and be with the people I loved. I kept thinking it was a means to an end. “It will only be for awhile” I would tell myself, “then I will be successful, wealthy, happy and I can relax and enjoy myself”. The problem is, I rarely see anyone that does this ever get to where they think they have enough and stop. Not unless something happens to stop them.

Please comment about your experiences with work and life. I am getting some great responses and I would love a conversation on this topic. It is very vital and affects everyone. Even if you do not over work or put off doing the things you love for the “right” time, I know you know someone who does, we all do.

Here’s a question I would like to hear your answers to : Do you believe you can achieve your goals without working all the time and sacrificing time sleeping, relaxing, enjoying?

Tomorrow I will talk some more about workaholism, some atitudes I see in people and how to start to “do less, acheive more”.

INSPIRED ACTION:Today, take a break more often, sit quietly and just be, watch birds, listen to music that inspires you or to your kids laughing and playing, hold your partners hand or send them a special note. BE totally in that moment, do not think of all you ‘have’ to do. Decide you deserve joy now, consider letting go of the need to achieve and living of the delayed life plan.