Professional Development Work-Life Balance

Help: I’m a Workaholic!

I'm-too-efficient

Okay, being a workaholic sounds doesn’t sound like a very positive description. You might consider yourself to be more along the lines of “too efficient” but the truth is, being extremely efficient at work can have its drawbacks, too. Consider these tips, inspired by Laura Vanderkam at FastCompany.com.

Realize You Move at a Faster Speed

Firstly, if you’re driving at 90 mph and your coworkers are cruising along at the speed limit, odds are you’re pretty frustrated whenever you’re waiting on them to turn around an assignment or component for a shared project. The solution here isn’t to slow down, necessarily, but be aware that your natural pace may not match up automatically with those around you.

And chances are, if you’re feeling frustration, others may be sensing it. Approach your workflow with all that characteristic efficiency, but build the time delays into it, so you know when to expect and how to respond to them.

Don’t Rush Past Important Workplace Checkpoints

Secondly, what if you know you’re the most productive person in the office, but promotions keep going to other people? Sure, maybe you’re just too valuable where you are, but take a look at the politics of the workplace for a possible explanation.

You may be working speedily and effectively, but are you taking the time to build personal relationships? Make the effort to accept a happy hour invitation at least once a month; support your colleagues by celebrating their milestones and pitching in on projects if they need help. Take 10 minutes to schmooze a little with someone you actually like talking to—you never know when a positive impression will come in handy.

Besides, if you churn through your to-do list at a breakneck pace and don’t have a lot of patience for stragglers, you’re actually demonstrating poor management skills. Good managers motivate their teams, and help them balance responsibilities and tasks, rather than steamrolling by and expecting them to follow automatically. Mentor your coworkers, particularly those further down the hierarchy—demonstrate to the higher ups that you may be a wunderkind, but you’re also a team player.

Make Sure Your Contributions are Known

And finally, make sure someone knows how productive you are! The disadvantage to keeping your head down and your eyes on the target is that people may come to take for granted what you contribute. Schedule regular check-ins with your boss, disguised as a “status meeting” if necessary, to ensure that your accomplishments are on their radar.

Then, kick back and enjoy leaving promptly at 5—virtue (or high level efficiency) can also be rewarded by the timely end to the work day.

The Downside To Being Super Efficient At Work

Read More at Fast Company

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About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.

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