You heard me, workaholic = schmocholic. All work and no play makes you a very boring person. I'll also jump in and say you're probably inefficient, ineffective, playing the game of "looking good" with all of that "face time" you're putting in at the office. You're spinning - making up stuff to do, wasting time, trying to look busy. That's not busy - that's stupid. I've been there, I've seen it - I've even done it. Oooohhh la la, everyone thinks you're a rockstar because you put in 80 or 100 hours at work. Not me any more. I'm way too busy. Recently, my co-founders and I read this great book, Rework and found it to be inspiring - so here's my response to one of the big takeaways from that read.
The busiest people get the most done. I'll give you an example from my own life: high school, for me, was a time when I was insanely busy. Okay - like the other preppy high school kids around, I took all AP classes, played in the school orchestra, enjoyed shopping and eating late night in diners, and baby-sitting here and there to make some extra cash for my shopping-hobby. Unlike many other kids, I also was governor in the class student government, played in both the school orchestra and the New York State regional orchestra, played in our school pit orchestras, had my own string quartet, was the pianist for two churches, was a competitive pianist as I traveled to New York City every other weekend for piano, regularly did (3-4 times a week) and sometimes even taught Tae Kwon Do (black belt), had piano lessons sometime two to three times a week for four to five hours at a time, taught private piano lessons for 8 students (weekly), was part of the math club + speech and debate club, did weekly community service working with the area nursing homes and hospital emergency rooms, worked on huge 5 feet by 5 feet paintings for my special advanced art classes, took care of my younger brother, went to Bible study groups, worked at the Empire State Plaza giving tours of Albany, NY, sang in a choir, and still was in top of the class with my grades ... insanely busy. Yes, call me an over achiever. And that's just an example of a high school kid! I definitely believe this: You want something done, ask one of your busier friends - if they believe in it/you, they will get it done.
Workaholics schmocoholics burn time. The biggest grievance I had (and continue to have) with working a regular full-time corporate job was with expectations around "face-time". I get it - sometimes you put in a little more when you start a new job or a new project at a client site until trust has been built, and your reputation (assuming a good one) is confirmed through solid work output and results. Awesome. But when you have a work environment or culture where people are counting the hours between when you arrive and when you leave, that's plain ridiculous. When you have bosses/management praising those that don't know how to manage their time and that are regularly and normally pulling 55+ hours a week at the office, the place has got issues. That's not busy = that's inefficient. Billable hours my ass - it's inefficiency. The "face-time" aka look for that "butt-in-the-seat" attitude disgusts me. You end up with people creating work, making up work, spinning in circles and spending valuable time on ineffective tasks. If an employee can get the job done in two hours, makes the necessary meetings, gets things done - who cares? Who cares, who cares, who cares!? Again, billable hours my ass. Yes, spikes happen and long hours happen, so make it happen then - but for those who have too much time on your hands where you are counting your weekly billable hours versus another colleague's, for those that regularly do nothing but work 60+ hours a week, ... you got too much time on your hands. Stop counting. Get a life. Go home to your family. Spend quality time with your wife/kids/friends... Put in some time and care for a local nonprofit. Take dancing lessons. Paint. DO SOMETHING!
When you are on your deathbed, will your proudest moments be looking back at the many billable hours a week you were able to put in to make partner at well paying corporate job you retired from a decade ago? There's more to life - so prioritize accordingly. Stop counting and comparing hours, bank accounts, ... do something and make your mark in this world (projects, your family, your friends, whatever you believe in). Make it big.