Work Martyr: Someone who perceives their work ethic to be vastly greater than others’ and who often likes to do things alone so they get done “properly”. Someone who doesn’t like to take time away from work because they want to show complete dedication to their job.
Does this sound like you?
It’s easy to fall into the work-martyr trap. You feel consumed by your job but unable to let go. Your life-work balance is all thrown off. When you’re working on a project or a business of your own making, this can be an especially troublesome predicament.
But it’s worth remembering that productivity isn’t always related to the number of hours we work or the number of emails we answer in the early hours of the morning. In fact, studies have regularly shown that taking breaks and even vacations has a really positive effect on our work ethic and the quality of the work we produce.
So how to recognize those work-martyr tendencies and restore that essential life-work balance balance? Watch for these danger signs:
You’re Contactable 24/7
Wake up and check your emails? Eat lunch and check your emails? Check your emails before turning off the bedside light at night?
Sometimes the nature of our work means we need to be on call 24/7. But in most cases we can allow ourselves a little downtime. Can that request for information wait till after breakfast? Will the world end if you have a digital detox during your lunch break? And are you really going to be able to do anything to the best of your ability at 1 in the morning?
When the evening comes round, leave your laptop and smartphone to one side and truly commit to spending time with your family. That way you can return to work refreshed and rested the next day.
You Don’t Like to Delegate or Ask For Help
Sometimes, we compare ourselves to others and think about how awesome we are at our jobs. And we don’t trust anyone else to do as good a job. This is classic work-martyr behavior and, for mompreneurs, this can reach beyond the office and into the world of housework as well.
Whether you’re dealing with employees or your own family members, don’t be afraid to ask for help and to delegate. You may need to loosen your grip and be less prescriptive about how things are done but you will also have more time to yourself.
You Can’t Remember Your Last Vacation
Vacations are our opportunity to turn off from work, spend quality time with the family and indulge in a little R&R. The average American takes just 16.8 vacation days per year, giving up time which could be spent nurturing family relationships, perfecting that tennis swing or even just snoozing on the sofa.
If you can’t remember your last vacation, it may be time to book some time away from work. Whether you stay at home or fly off to some far flung destination, make the decision to leave work at the office.
Your Extra Hours Don’t Seem to Pay Off
If you’re working till the kids get home and then you’re back in the office as soon as they’re off to bed, ask yourself if you’re seeing the rewards of this constant slog. If your extra hours don’t seem to be paying off, you need to take a look at the bigger picture and ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve.
Working for the sake of working is unlikely to bring much joy to either you or your family. Working with a goal in mind and assessing how many sacrifices you’re prepared to make can help you to work in a healthier way.
You’re Regularly Getting Sick
Stress and sleep deprivation both have a negative effect on our immune systems. If you’re finding that every sniffle turns into the flu or you pick up every single bug the kids bring home from school, it’s time to take stock and slow down. Making sure you’re at 100%, both physically and mentally, means taking time off.
Make space in your schedule to keep stress in check, eat well and stay fit and the time you spend on work will be much more productive.
Don’t be a work-martyr! Assess your working style, think about your life-work balance and accept that being more productive means adding a little downtime to the mix. Then go make a cup of coffee and take a break.
You deserve it!