People who work long hours either label themselves as a high achiever or a workaholic. Successful entrepreneur Adam Ferrari says the differences come from the mindset with which people approach their tasks.
Workaholics can often lose their sense of choice and their sense of control. They then can get trapped and have a hard time finding their way out.
Here’s how that happens and how you can dig yourself out of it if you find yourself in that position.
They Work Hard but Not Smart
“Work smarter, not harder” is a popular phrase in executive coaching, and for good reason. Workaholics often simply work more than their colleagues. However, they can fall into the trap of not being as productive.
A major contributing factor to this is workaholics’ mistake of simply being busy. While workaholics tend to brag about their ability to multi-task, high achievers will focus on one task at a time.
By not drawing attention away from the primary task at hand, high achievers can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.
They Constantly Seek Validation
The workaholic lifestyle is defined by long hours and seeking constant validation for this work. They believe they should be rewarded for spending long hours at the office into the night and even on weekends and for not using all their designated paid time off.
High achievers do the exact opposite. They value work-life balance. They take their vacation time. And when they’re at the office or on work time, they make sure they’re producing at high levels for the company.
Compared to workaholics, high achievers seek feedback from their bosses so they can improve even more. However, they aren’t necessarily driven by someone validating them for putting in the hours.
They Try to Be Perfect
Workaholics often exhibit traits of a perfectionist. They can sometimes have trouble handing off or completing a project — despite the long hours they put in — because they always believe what they do can be better.
High achievers will instead focus on progressing a project closer to its end goal. Even if they cannot produce the perfect result or get the job to 100% completion, it’s OK. They know that improvements could occur in the future as tweaks are made.
Work Successes Drive Their Life
Workaholics tend to think that their success in life revolves primarily around accomplishments at work. While it’s healthy if work success is a part of life success, Adam Ferrari says it shouldn’t be the only metric.
High achievers separate themselves from workaholics by understanding that work is just one part of life. This is important because it allows them to separate a failure at work from a failure in life.
Workaholics sometimes have difficulty separating the two, which can have ripple effects on the quality of their future work.