Many people, including myself are guilty of devoting far too many hours to their work, even when it becomes detrimental to other aspects of their lives. I lived with the assumption for the longest time, that if I worked longer hours, put in more time, and got more done than everyone else that I would be noticed more, and rewarded for my efforts. For a while this was true, when you’re in an entry level position going the extra mile will get you noticed, and will help you to advance quicker to the front line supervisor and management positions. This is true at that level, the harder you work, the faster you’ll be able to move up, because you’ll stand out.
Once you get to a middle or senior level management job though, this is no longer a part of your success. This occurs for a number of reasons.
Once you reach a middle management level position a few things change:
- The amount of people that depend on your work increases substantially.
- The impact your work makes on the rest of your team grows significantly.
- You carry a responsibility over a larger portion of the business.
- You will have substantially more stressors in your work life.
- You will already tend to have to be more available if an issue were to come up.
At this point, if you spend all of your time working and just try to accomplish a greater quantity of work than anyone else you’ll most likely find yourself burning out. As somebody who has burnt out multiple times so early in my career, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Secondly, this push to work the largest number of hours can cause 1 of 2 things to happen:
- You will try to accomplish a larger number of tasks than is expected.
- You will allow yourself more time than needed to complete each task.
Let’s look at why both scenarios can be detrimental to your success.
When you try to accomplish a larger number of tasks than you are expected to, or than you need to, some of these tasks will end up being an exercise in futility. If others did not need to do this to be successful in this position, then the probability that you NEED to do them is also low. Secondly, you will most likely find that the quality of your work will be lessened as it is nearly impossible to focus 100% for extended periods of time.
When you allow yourself more time than needed to complete a task you will most likely fall into yet another trap I’ve been guilty of many times. When I give myself too much time to accomplish a task, I begin to overthink things, and second guess myself. When either of these things happen, you may end up with a reduced quality of work, and less confidence in the end result versus had you complete the task in a more reasonable amount of time.
The moral of the story here, if that sometimes you need to take time for yourself, and remember that you only need to work as much as you need to work to complete your job effectively. Don’t put in a bunch of extra hours just because you think it will help you to stand out. There is people that look up to you at this level, and that’s not the impression you want to teach them either.
Until Next Time,