I recently read an article on hiring. There was one of the hiring managers asking the candidates, if they are hard worker or smart worker.
I looked back at the working habits of people I have been around. There were some, who always appeared busy and deep into their work (the hard workers or the workaholics). Then there was the other breed who always seemed to have the capacity to take more (the smart worker). And at the end of the day, they both delivered the same, if not more for the smart worker.
The book REWORK by JASON FRIED (read more about ColoredCow and Rework here) talks about this workaholic mentality and how the society wrongly celebrates it. Most of us think that killing ourselves over a project is the best thing in the world, or that no amount of work is too much, which is simply wrong. In one of the excerpts from the book, Jason writes about workaholics that – 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.
Apart from the inelegant solutions, there are other side effects of being the workaholic. By just putting in the hours in whatever comes up, we loose the rational to identify what requires us to put in the extra effort and what does not.
There are always some time when you need burn the mid night oil and put in the hours. Being the smart worker, helps us to look for elegant solutions and sort things out quickly.
Also by not being absorbed in the work continuously and taking care of what we have in our kitty, we give a sense of confidence to others that we can take in more and help out in the times of need.