Management Talk: Be a workaholic

There is an element of pride attached to the word'workaholic'. Some claim to be workaholics, and proudly so. Bragging rights are earned when you burn the midnight oil, live out of a bag, sit in the corner office structuring plans, consume umpteen cups of coffee, and take equal number of reinvigorating breaks and have a line up of meetings. You are a workaholic if you have several missed calls and messages on your phone. Others would consider themselves lucky if such a person actually answers the

08 Feb 2016 | By Suresh Ramakrishnan

I was a workaholic too. I have burnt the midnight oil several times over. When people asked me if I stayed up all night, it felt good. I have lived out of a bag for several years and earned an astronomical quantity of miles with a passenger privilege status that one can only dream about. I would feel guilty leaving office early, lest I was seen as the one without much work.
In hindsight, it wasn’t worth it. While I rose in ranks and responsibility, I lost a number of softer
aspects. From being one of the fittest people, I became sloppy. I missed several family occasions that would have been delightful. I did not understand the meaning of a vacation as I was in a new city or country each month; the idea of travelling as a means of relaxation made me cringe. It made me restless when I was not near my computer, and often I would wake up at unearthly hours to send emails. Let me tell you, zombies don’t look smart.
I would still advise, be a workaholic but, change the mix. I haven’t come across any study that states that a company of workaholics rose faster than those who worked within sane hours. I believe if you have planned your work right and have a structured approach to problem
solving within a good organisation structure, nine hours is more than sufficient to work productively and efficiently.
Take an interest in fitness: There are couple of benefits. Your ability to be self-motivated increases as the limits that you can reach is set by you. Results are never instantaneous. So, unless you follow the rigour regularly, results never come through. It teaches you to be patient. The variations are so many and the right mix of workouts is essential to tone yourself. It teaches you that no one method fetches results. A calculated and intelligent combination works
Be a kid in some measure: Either you can be a kid to be with a kid or just have a curiosity of a kid to experiment new things, learn a few things from scratch without worrying about your age or what others will say. Many intellectuals have said this: it is never too late to learn anything.
Enjoy the flavour of what you eat: I am still not good at it, but the few times I have followed it, it leads to an earnest fact, find about cooking (which I believe is a good therapy), which is also a great conversation-starter.
Read something interesting: Good general knowledge leads to conversations and such people make good company.
It’s okay to share a laugh: It is the best stress-buster I have found. You don’t have to be utterly silly to do this, but observations, instances that have a fun element may help.
Pick some of the above, or all of them or add something of your own but draw a boundary to work. Be a workaholic, but make sure to change the mix.
Suresh Ramakrishnan is the publisher at Haymarket Media (India).