Are you a workaholic? People have often asked me, and my simple answer is No! A workaholic is a person who is deeply addicted to work. Since most of us are now at home either working or thinking of work, I would like to explain why I am not a workaholic:
- Consistent work ethic: For the past 4 decades, I was consistently the first person to be at work and the last one to leave. This valuable habit developed at an early age. I was a young trainee officer in the Army and that forcefully taught me self-discipline. For example, the daily discipline to wake up at around 5 am even if I didn’t like it. This has stayed with me and I still do it to this day.
2. Rigor: I followed the rigor of having a dawn to dusk schedule most of my life before the unfortunate illness of my wife. I would be at work at around 6 am and leave at around 7 pm. The long daylight hours in summer increased my productivity allowing me to inspect wells at oil and gas fields, talk to pumpers, get back to work and do other daily office tasks. On Saturdays, I worked half days with a skeletal crew, and this gave us time to analyze our work during the current week and to be ready, (preplan and make projections) for the upcoming week. We did a lot of problem solving together during after hours and on weekends.
3. Freedom to work from anywhere, anytime: I did not make it mandatory for co-workers to stay with me from dawn to dusk. Since I was mostly the last one staying, I would encourage co-workers to go back to their families especially if they were married with kids and generously allowed telecommuting before the word became fashionable! However, most coworkers followed my work habits.
4. Multitasking: Fortunately, I feel that I have the God-given gift of being a good multitasker. My view is contrary to the principles in the book, Deep Work by Cal Newport, that encourages people to stay focused on just one task in a highly distracted world. I personally can handle, manage and delegate a legal question, talk to my field guys, address engineering questions, address well production issues, monitor costs, respond to an accounting question, solve another issue simultaneously, and so forth. I try hard to research the tasks and issues at hand and try to find quick, simple, ingenious ways to solve them. You may call it multitasking but for me it was a deep passion for work and a mastery of skills that took me several years to accomplish.
5. Work smart and take risks: My passion for work allowed me to work smart and take calculated risks throughout my life. If I had been just a workaholic, I would have ended up working long hours with nothing or little to show for at the end of the day.
6. Create the right environment: I was fortunate that my wife was on board with this, which is very important. You need to manage those who nag you about focusing more on domestic chores and not work harder and consistently. Our family worked as a unit understanding that I was the breadwinner, had to earn money, pay all of the bills, and educate children, who knew I was deeply passionate about my work. So, create in your homes a good happy balanced unit that moves positively in harmony.
7. Work-life balance: My young grandchildren ask me: “Papa, why do you still work?” I am semi-retired, close to 70 and honestly, I don’t need to work. But I still do more work than most youngsters today and I am not a workaholic. I had traveled around the world with my wife, kids and grandkids. I spend my leisure time wisely and I balance my work, home and general life. In fact, I really raised my 2 younger children and continued to be involved in their lives until they were both happily married.
8. Always be available: I dislike “out of office” reminders sent from people saying that they are “unavailable.” I don’t even understand this concept for anyone in business. In a deeply connected world, I do not understand how you can fake being unavailable! I am always available to all of my staff and family on a 24/7 basis and I’ve never felt it uncomfortable responding to them in a timely manner, wherever I am.
Now, you may wonder why I am not a workaholic! I have had a great work-life which was balanced with my home life. Together, my wife and I raised four children who are all well-settled. I did all of this and without being a workaholic and I believe you can do it too!
Find out more about me in my best -selling book “From dirt roads to black gold.” Note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help people in need through my foundation, the YBC Foundation.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been , am now or will be affiliated.
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