How to Avoid Becoming A Workaholic

overworked businesswoman sleeping on table at messy office

Happy National Workaholics Day

Today is #NationalWorkaholicsDay. When I first read about this unofficial holiday…I could relate to this day of recognition for those who work long hours. We live in a country that seems to celebrate a workaholic lifestyle. Think about how many people you’ve heard practically brag about staying up all night working or never taking a vacation day. I’ll be honest, I like to work and I absolutely LOVE my job. And up until a few years ago, these things came out of my very mouth.

But National Workaholics Day wasn’t designed to celebrate hard workers. It’s a day set aside to remind us to find a good balance between our home and work life.

Workaholics Get Less Done!

Studies have shown that a person’s productivity goes down significantly long before many people call it quits for the day. If you’re working a lot of hours, you’re probably getting a lot less done per hour than many of your fellow employees.

And when you work an extra-long day but drag around the next, it’s actually counterproductive.

A Few Tips to Avoid "Workaholism"

  1. Set a time boundary. It helps to put a limit on your workday, like going home at 6:00 PM. Or put a limit on a specific task, like one hour. Having a schedule helps to focus, too. If you know that a task has to be done by a certain time, you’ll focus.

2. Spend less time working and get more done. Are you working longer hours because you can’t get enough done during regular business hours? If you have this challenge, perhaps you spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks that simply don’t matter that much. 

3. Stop Procrastinating! Have you ever burned the midnight oil, still at work until late at night because you have an important task to complete, one that has to be done today? I’m raising both hands!

One of my favorite books is Eat that Frog, by Brian Tracy. In this book, Tracy encourages you to tackle your most important task, the one with the biggest consequences out of the way FIRST. 

4. Get a hobby. Find something to do that you really enjoy, preferably something that has nothing to do with your work. People that work a lot don’t think they have time for a hobby. If you have a good reason to not work, you’ll generally spend less time at work.

I had to cheat a little on this one. I love to learn new things, so rather than work, I escape to learn new things that I can use to make me better at my job. 

5. Spend time with your family and friends. Your family is a big part of the reason you’re working anyway; it doesn’t make sense to ignore them so you can spend more time working. Think about it. Your kids will be gone and out of the house before you know it.

Or spend time volunteering to serve children or spend time with the elderly. 

6. Find other people that have a great work / life balance. It’s usually easier to learn from someone else that’s already accomplished what we want to accomplish ourselves. Seek out friends, co-workers, and neighbors that have the lifestyle you’d like to have. Maybe they can offer some pointers and advice.

Baby Steps!

In conclusion, whether you are a recovering workaholic like me, or are just now recognizing that you are headed down that path, a few small steps you take each day will contribute to your overall health and well-being.

Avoid falling into the workaholic trap. Set a schedule and stick to it. Focus on your health. With some intention and experimentation, you can get your work done and still get home at a reasonable hour.

Happy balancing,

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