In a perfect world, we would be judged solely on our results, regardless of what others thought about how or when we got our work done. The good news is that this type of "results only" mentality is catching on. Some companies and managers are beginning to realize that there are better ways to manage performance than by counting hours at the office. Organizations are responding to the changing needs of workers everywhere by offering arrangements such as flex-time and telecommuting.
The bad news is that, like it or not, corporate mentality is what it is. The 40-hour week is not just an expectation; it's the minimum, especially for salaried professionals. Self-proclaimed workaholics advertise their 12-hour days like a badge of honor and wouldn’t be caught dead leaving the office before 6:30 p.m.
Just because it's the norm doesn’t make it right. Ready to take a stand? You don't have to defy your boss and coworkers in a dramatic 5 o’clock showdown. Here are some practical ideas that can help you on your way to regaining control over your time.
Workaholics don't get ahead. There will always be work that needs to be done. There will always be more to be done than there is time in which to do it. That's why the classic workaholic will never get ahead. As they work to accomplish more and more, their task list will continue to grow. At the same time, as they become tired, stressed, and overextended, the quality of their work will suffer.
Frankly, the workaholic's energies would be better spent finding ways to get more out of a 40-hour week than by burning the midnight oil five (or six, or seven) nights a week.
Get noticed in eight hours. Unfortunately, workaholics exist for a reason. They tend to be well-respected for their efforts and praised for their dedication to their jobs. But that doesn't mean that you need to smash the 50-hour barrier every week in order to command the recognition and respect that you deserve. This is where productivity comes in. When most people talk about workaholics, the discussion usually revolves around how much time they spend working. It is rare to get a clear idea of just how much these people accomplish in a given day.
Anybody can spend a day keeping busy. It takes real commitment to remain actively productive during working hours. Just keep in mind that real productivity pays off, big time. You don't want to be noticed because you log a lot of hours. You want to be noticed for what you accomplish. And if you really are putting forth the effort necessary to milk your 40-hour week for all it’s worth, your stellar results will not go unnoticed.
The early bird gets… a raw deal. Let's say you work from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. while your boss works from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Which one of you is going to get noticed? Your 10-to-6 boss can work the same number of hours but still look like she’s putting in extra time at the end of the day. And if your boss works an extra hour or two, she's walking out of the building while the sun sets -- another corporate rock star.