Most of us are familiar with the expression ‘work smarter not harder,’ but few people are aware of exactly what it refers to. An employee who is constantly on the go may seem like a high performer but they may just be running in circles without actually accomplishing anything of worth. The following list looks at the subtle differences between high performers and workaholics.

1. Productivity

Just because someone is constantly busy it does not necessarily mean they are being productive. Workaholics tend to run around all day answering emails, organizing files, chasing up clients, or offering to help others without making any noticeable progression in their careers.

2. The ability to delegate tasks

A high performer can immediately identify which tasks are worthy of their own personal attention and those can be handed down to others. A workaholic will attempt to take on their own full workload including that of their co-workers.

3. Knowing when to call it a day

When faced with a difficult task at work, sometimes it is best to take a break and come back to it or maybe even abandon it altogether. High performers know how to spend their energy wisely and will not hesitate to abandon projects that do not offer results.

4. Achieving goals

The most successful people set long-term goals and take steps to achieve them. Working towards a definite goal is the best way to make progress in your chosen career. Simply keeping busy with a multitude of tasks will not help you grow and develop your skills.

5. Job satisfaction

Workaholics tend to feel nervous and exhausted at the end of each day as they have spread themselves too thinly trying to take on too many tasks. High performers end the day feeling satisfied and proud of their daily achievements no matter how small.

6. Taking care of oneself

Those who work long hours are more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, and poor physical health. High performers know the importance of arranging regular breaks from work and taking good care of themselves in order to avoid burnout.

7. Confidence

Confidence in your abilities is the key to succeeding in the workplace. High performers know their worth and do not need validation from co-workers or managers. Workaholics, on the other hand, will constantly seek the approval of others to determine whether or not they are performing well.

8. Setting a pace

Slow and steady progress is the key to long-lasting success. Workaholics tend to operate at a manic pace trying to do as much as possible throughout the day. Creating a to-do list at the start of every day with the most urgent items at the top is the best way to prioritize your workload.

9. Getting results

If you find yourself constantly busy without ever seeing the fruits of your labor, then this is a sure sign that you may be a workaholic. High performers rarely engage in activities that will not yield results. Being able to identify which projects are worthy of your attention is an essential skill that all high performers need to develop.

10. Career progression

Think back to where you were five years ago, is your career progressing at the pace you want it to? If you are constantly being overlooked for promotions or important projects, this may be a sign that management do not think that you are capable of handling extra responsibility. High performers are always first in line for promotions and will quickly climb the ranks of a company.

If you think you may be a workaholic, then a few simple changes are all you need to transform your career. Start making a list of all the tasks that you have to complete each day and rank them according to importance.

Leave out any duties that are not necessary or that can be assigned to other people. Last but not least, make a five-year plan that identifies which goals you have to achieve in order to take your career to the next level. 

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