The Ghost of Christmas Past took Ebenezer Scrooge on an unwanted journey of repentance. It showed him how his work-obsessed personality traits would eventually compel Scrooge’s fiancée to leave him.
Now I’ve put in excessive hours at work over the years. And no-one has left my employ because of it. In fact, people have mostly respected that trait. Proud of my work ethic, I’m less impressed by the need to take that to extremes.
When I left salaried employment, I set my self a target to find ‘my’ perfect balance. By that I mean being able to experience all the good things in life. Also, to be successful in business; doing something I love.
This isn’t about changing your work ethic. Honestly, being work-obsessed has helped me through some challenging times at work. Moreover, changing your work patterns is a challenge in itself. You have to be tenacious and determined to make the change. And you have to know the behaviours you would like to exhibit instead.
I’ve taken a piecemeal approach to this. Year on year; month by month; day by day I’ve made conscious decisions about incremental changes I wanted to make. Each choice has moved me one step further away from the old work patterns. And one step closer to establishing the new.
I’ve found it helpful to monitor progress. To ensure that I don’t become wedded to each new idea. Kinder to see everything as a trial and let go of anything that isn’t helping. There will be other things you can try.
Being work-obsessed can be a temporary condition or a permanent one. There are times when you will put in long hours because you are starting something new. Or maybe you are in the middle of a growth spurt.
Many people value their work over any other activity. And that can become an addiction for some. For others it’s a necessary ingredient in their perfect balance.
Either way, the moral of this story is in changing our ways for the better. Let’s not wait for an apparition to force our hand!