Tag Archives: workaholism

Inattentive ADD & Workaholism: Two Ends of the Productivity Spectrum

Some people struggle to get started, particularly on tasks that are challenging, unpleasant or boring. Others can start with relative ease, but have difficulty finding their off switch. The first type of person struggles to get things done, to be reliable, to be consistently productive and follow through consistently. The second type gets lots of things done, but struggles with exhaustion and burnout as well as the personal fall out from being so absorbed in work that other areas of their life, particularly relationships, are neglected.

Are you ready to step out of the stress?

Are you ready to step out of the stress?

The first description is of a person who has inattentive ADD (attention deficit disorder), a neurobiological disorder. The second describes a compulsive doer, a workaholic. The person with ADD is likely to have more conflict outside of herself in relationships for not following through, finishing tasks and being reliable as well as an internal struggle with shame and low self-esteem. The compulsive doer seems to have her act together because she is productive, but she is not free from struggle. Though her relationships can be stressed by her unavailability, her biggest struggle is internal. Workaholics are often driven by fear that they might not measure up and an unconscious need to do enough to be OK. They manage their fear of inadequacy by continuing to push themselves mercilessly. No matter how much they accomplish, they have never done enough to feel safe from the critical voice in their own head.

These two types of people are at opposite ends of the continuum of productivity. One struggles to be productive. The other is incredibly productive, but is unable to acknowledge and enjoy their accomplishments. Unfortunately it’s common for both types of people to continue struggling because they are not aware that there are other options to dodging bullets, racing for deadlines and working to the point of exhaustion. 

Coaching is a process that focuses on developing self-knowledge and self-awareness to make it possible to accomplish goals. In coaching the person with ADD has the opportunity to develop awareness of how her ADD sabotages her efforts to be productive and design and practice strategies for managing her ADD. The workaholic in coaching has the opportunity to pause, connect with herself and discover what keeps her on the treadmill to exhaustion. With greater clarity about what drives her to the point of exhaustion and even illness, strategies for shifting to a lower gear, and the support of her coach, the workaholic has the opportunity to shift her perception of herself and make space for more than work in her life.

Opposites aren’t always opposite. The person with ADD and the workaholic both struggle to feel competent and productive enough. Their lives are lived in stress mode. Coaching is an option that can help them identify and manage their internal and external struggles and create new ways of being that can result in long-lasting personal empowerment.

If you recognize yourself in either description, consider investing in coaching to make possible living a life with less stress, more pleasure and more peace.

Are You Choosing Workaholism & Busyness?

When you’re young your time is scheduled for you: school, playtime, doctor’s appointments, piano lessons, etc. When you become an adult some of your time may be scheduled for you, your work hours, for example. Even then you get to choose the kind of job you seek with its corresponding work hour requirements. And, you get to choose what you do with the rest of your time. Time is an important commodity in our lives, something that requires constantly making choices and deciding how best to use it.

Why is it, then, that many people feel compelled to regularly fill it completely with activities and obligations? Why is it so difficult to leave spaces for rest, for play, for spontaneous activities?

Could it be that you have not learned to accurately assess the time requirements of the activities you choose? Perhaps the ideal life that you seek takes more time to achieve than there are hours available day to day. Or, are you so programmed by our culture that rewards over-functioning even at the cost of family relationships and physical health that nothing less than being overcommitted all the time seems laudable?

Stop and think about how you spend your time. If you feel dissatisfied with the harried pace of your life and the paucity of pauses, playtime and rest, remember that you are in the driver’s seat of your life. You can’t control every time consuming demand that comes at you. But, I’ll bet you could excavate some “me” time from your busy schedule, time that has no agenda, if you work as hard at that task as you do at fulfilling all the obligations that eat your time.

It’s difficult to change when what you are doing is swimming upstream to cultural norms like busyness and workaholism. But, it can be done. The quality of your life depends on it!

PS If you schedule regular “me” time for rest and play, you’re likely to find you are more productive in the rest of your life!