Working Around The Clock – A Badge of Honor or Sign of Failure?

I heard someone the other day describe themselves as a hard worker – the hardest worker anyone would ever find.  You could tell by not only their tone and demeanor but their follow-up discussion, that they believed this was a badge of honor – something to aspire to.

This person is not only found within the American work-place.  In fact, it is a club that is bubbling over with thousands upon thousands of people working 24/7/365 and PROUD of it.   I am here to tell you that this title is NOT a badge of honor and in many ways is a sign of failure – failure to lead; failure to understand productivity and innovation; and, most importantly, failure to yourself.

The ironic part of this phenomenon is that the research shows how BAD it is for business and how much it diminishes productivity.  The research is also overwhelming in showing the correlation with health issues as a result of this approach … yet we continue and we are surprised with the results.  (???!!!)

If you want to lead in a manner that encourages innovation and success, you MUST change this mindset.   Here are a few things you can do to move away from this failing equation and closer to that of success.

  • Turn IT Off.  
    1. By IT, I’m referring to email, texting, IM’ing and all other forms of communication.   By turning off your own communication for a period in the evenings, you are setting the expectations for what is and isn’t acceptable for those you lead.
    2. It is critical that we give ourselves time to recharge daily in order to maintain high levels of performance, and not doing so will ultimately require twice as much time as it should have if only you were recharged.
  • Reintroduce the “F” word into your life – FUN!  
    1. Now, unless you are one of the few sick people who think going to the gym is fun, exercise is NOT what I’m referring to and does not fit into the “fun” category.  Study after study shows the direct correlation between having fun and laughter and increased creativity.
    2. If you are feeling flat, safe and otherwise not innovative, get AWAY from work and find some laughter.   Find something that allows you reconnect with this part of your body’s needs.   You will find that your creativity and productivity will see an uptick as a result.
  • Celebrate others who adopt these two principles.  
    1. If you want this to become the norm, then recognize rather than criticize those who are doing it well.
    2. People are for the most part focused on a herd-mentality and will go in the direction that is seen as the “safe and prescribed” way to go.   Recognize those who do it well and others will follow.

If we are interested in sustaining and growing our businesses, we must discard this awful myth that giving away your life for a job is somehow honorable.   Not only isn’t honorable but it doesn’t serve the company and their best interest – in the end it is counterproductive to all.

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