When you love what you do, and do what you love, then you can’t really call it “work”, can you? Completely immersing yourself in your work or company can be an awesome and a very advantageous thing. If it’s your passion and you really love doing it, then why not? Spending upwards of 50 to 60 hours in the office is like nothing to you, and checking or sending emails at 1 a.m. is like second nature. If you’re not one of these people that truly has a passion for what you do then you’ll likely refer to this kind of person as a workaholic. They live, eat and breath their work and never seem to take a break. Ever. That’s all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day it’s important to realize that you are a human- not a machine- and immersing yourself in your work all day everyday will start to take a toll on your health and your personal life.
Are you the type of person that works a full day, stays a couple hours late in the office and continues to work when you get home? There are two different ways we can look at these kinds of workers. On one side of the spectrum, we can say that these types are motivated, driven, hard-working, focused and passionate about what they do. They crave success and want to see their work or business thrive. These are the kinds of people that drive companies and breed results, right? Perhaps. On the other side of the spectrum we can say that these types are workaholics, obsessive, removed, sterile and care about nothing more than their work. If they have families, they may suffer and feel as though work always comes first. If they are single, they may lack any kind of personal social life. Everyone has their own opinion regarding these types of people, but the real question is, “when do you leave work behind?”
If the answer is never, then you may have some serious issues to tackle with yourself. Everyone’s line of work is different, therefore the amount of time invested in work is going to vary from occupation to occupation. However, when you leave the office, go home and continue to work, that is where the issue sometimes lies. When I was doing research for this post I came across an article that tackled the question, “what is considered work?” It may sound crazy, but if you’re at home and decide to open up your laptop and respond to emails after dinner or after your kids have gone to bed, that’s work. If you check your work calendar and start planning out your week, then you might as well bring yourself on back to the office because you are working.
This is where so many workaholics start. You’re at home and out of the office, but you’re not truly leaving work behind. A carpenter can’t bring his work into his home, can he? No. He has set hours and set days for projects and when the day is done, so is he. So why should office work be any different? There needs to be time set aside for yourself and time set aside for your family if you have one. Failing to do this can result in stress, an unhealthy lifestyle and overall unhappiness.
By the same token, there’s not much room for home at work. That is why the divide is so important. Work time is for work and home time is for home. Taking multiple personal calls during the day while you are at work is generally deemed unacceptable and unprofessional. Those are things that should be taken care of on your own time, not your company’s. Bringing personal or home issues into the office is never a good idea.
When you keep the two separate, then it makes it much easier to continue to keep them separate. If work time is dedicated solely to work time, then your home time shouldn’t be taken over by work. The same goes for the opposite: if home time is for home, then it shouldn’t make it’s way into your work time. Keeping the two separate, for the most part, is key to living a healthy, balanced life. Of course, if working 24/7 is something you want to do then that is your life choice. But if there are others involved, like a spouse or children, then you need to take their time into consideration as well. Without doing this, you may start to see your personal life slowly fall apart and all that will be left is your work.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Ridiculously Efficient