Work Smarter not Harder… The difference between a workaholic and a top-performer.

By July 29, 2014General

Why is “procrastination” considered by some to be a dirty word? Sometimes my best ideas are the product of a tight deadline or pressure of a ticking clock. So, when I came across this article titled “High Performers vs. Workaholics: 7 Subtle Differences,” it intrigued me and, ultimately, validated my (sometimes) instinct to “procrastinate.”

Workaholics vs Top Performers

Workaholics can look very similar to high performers on the outside, but they’re actually nothing alike, according to Jullien Gordon, a nationally recognized public speaker and notable talent recruitment and development consultant. The key difference? Gordon argues that, “A high performer works hard in healthy sustainable ways and feels happy and inspired, meanwhile a workaholic works hard in unhealthy unsustainable ways and feels unhappy and burned out.” Here’s the breakdown and some key takeaways I learned from Gordon’s study and article:

  1. High performers know their own value. Workaholics allow others to determine their value.

    Gordon ascertains that a top-performing individual knows their own self worth. They are constantly self-evaluating and giving themselves feedback rather than waiting on the approval of others. Comparatively, a workaholic relies solely on external validation from a boss, co-worker, or client.

  1. High performers give 100% at the right time. Workaholics give 110% all of the time.

    Gordon writes that individuals who are top performers “don’t buy into the illusion of 110%. They know that 110% is unsustainable. Instead they focus on increasing their capacity so that their 100% is better than the competition’s 110%.” A workaholic attempts to go all out, all the time. “They have difficulty prioritizing what’s important, therefore, everything is important in their mind.”

  1. High performers do business. Workaholics are busy.

    Have you ever noticed those people who are perpetually busy or don’t have time for a quick chat or an outdoor lunch? Gordon says the Number 1 goal of a workaholic is to be busy at all times as they believe the busier they are (or appear) the more important they must be. On the flip side, a high performer’s primary goal is to conduct business. “The only thing that matters to them are results, if they can’t see a way to create value in the moment, they strategize instead.”

My grandpa loves to use the old phrase, “don’t put off for tomorrow what you could complete today,” and this is great advice. Sometimes. Other times not so much. So, which one are you? Read the full article here:


Author Catherine Smalley

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