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Workaholism

Here's a quote from the first chapter of the book Rework (latest from the 37signals camp):
Not only is workaholism unnecessary, it’s stupid. Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more. Workaholics wind up creating more problems than they solve.

First off, working like that just isn’t sustainable over time. When the burnout crash comes— and it will— it’ll hit that much harder. Workaholics miss the point, too. They try to fix problems by throwing sheer hours at them. They try to make up for intellectual laziness with brute force. This results in inelegant solutions.

They don’t look for ways to be more efficient because they actually like working overtime.
Workaholics make the people who don’t stay late feel inadequate for “merely” working reasonable hours. Plus, it leads to an ass- in- seat mentality—people stay late out of obligation, even if they aren’t really being productive.

If all you do is work, you’re unlikely to have sound judgments. Your values and decision making wind up skewed. You stop being able to decide what’s worth
extra effort and what’s not. And you wind up just plain tired. No one makes sharp decisions when tired.

Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.
While I always find 37signals stuff to be a bit extreme, yet the above I completely believe when it comes to people who are habitual late-sitters in office. In fact, I would prefer colleague who insists on going home on time and hence tries his/her best to finish work before 5-6 PM.

Take a scenario - you have 2 tasks A and B to finish and its about 2 PM. The one who wants to go home on time will plan to finish Task A by 4 and get on to Task B immediately - s/he may not finish Task B by 6, but will definitely complete it by 7PM and go home.

One who says he plans to sit late to finish the work, will tend to overshoot the deadline for Task A, finishing it say by 5PM, take a snack break and then get on to Task B. Now, if he needs help from someone else for Task B, chances are that the other person will be driving home or at home - may or may not be able to help. Even if there is no dependency, your work efficiency will anyway go down after 8PM, its more than likely that if you get stuck, you'd end up postponing the completion of Task B to the next morning. Worse still, since you worked late today, you'd end up coming in late the next morning and thus Task B would probably be complete only by late afternoon the next day!

I guess, its a straight logic that people who insist on work life balance are usually the more productive than those who work late.

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