Are you a workaholic?
You know, someone who’s so dependent on his or her work that it becomes the central part of life?
Not sure? Ask yourself:
- Are you the first one in the office and the last one to leave?
- Has anyone ever told you that you work too much? Did you smile and say thanks, thinking it was a compliment?
- Are all of your friends co-workers? (Be honest!)
- Do you have numerous weeks of vacation that roll over every year?
- Was your last vacation a few years ago?
- Did you check in with the office on your last vacation? Multiple times?
- Do your conversations outside of work tend to be about work?
- Do you eat at your desk every day?
If you answered “Yes” to most of these, I have some bad news for you!
You’re probably a workaholic!
What’s the big deal? You’re a hard worker! Right?
The problem: Workaholics have an addiction. They’re addicted to work. It just doesn’t have the social stigma.
But it takes a toll on you mentally and physically, and affects your personal life.
There are ways to get a handle on workaholism so you can put things back in perspective and start enjoying your life – outside of work!
Follow this 9-step guide to overcoming workaholism:
1) Admit You Have A Problem
Are you tired, stressed, unhappy, sick? You could love your job, and still feel this way.
Like all recovery programs – and no this isn’t a formal one, just a push in the right direction – the first step is admitting you have a problem.
So look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m a workaholic!”
While this may come as a bit of a shock to you, your family, friends and co-workers are probably thinking “Tell me something I don’t already know!”
2) Say Goodbye To Guilt
You actually left work to get a few hours of sleep or attend your child’s game despite not being finished with everything you wanted to accomplish, and now you feel guilty about it.
That was the old you.
The new you won’t give guilt the time of day, because you’re going to work smarter, not harder (more about that later). And just because you’re choosing to work differently, doesn’t mean the quality of your work will suffer.
In fact, it may improve with your new focus.
Just remember, guilt is a useless emotion that doesn’t serve a purpose except to make you feel bad. Kick it to the curb, and embrace work without guilt!
3) Change Your Way Of Thinking
Do you think people who work 9 to 5 and take vacations are slackers? And you believe those who work a ridiculous number of hours and never take time off are dedicated, hardworking role models?
What makes you a good leader and allows you to get ahead is engagement, not hours worked.
If you’re engaged in your work, it’ll show in your attitude and results.
It’ll also make more people want to work for you, because engagement shows you care about the company and its mission.
That’s how you stand out among your peers, not by the number of hours you’re in the office or work from home.
4) Learn To Walk Away
No more burning the midnight oil.
Allowing work to take over your life is unhealthy and foolish.
Give yourself a set time for work and stick to it.
That means no taking work home with you during the week and no working on the weekends.
You may have to take baby steps at first, like working one hour less a day or not taking work home the first few weeks.
Then you can add more restrictions as you adjust.
5) Prioritize And Work Smarter, Not Harder
To work fewer hours, however, you’ll need to adjust your workload.
Select a reasonable number of tasks you can accomplish in an eight-hour day.
Then delegate the tasks that don’t require your expertise and attention.
This will allow you to use your time more efficiently, and shows execs and employees that you can deliver high-quality work during normal business hours.
6) Unplug During Lunch And Breaks
No more eating at your desk.
The best thing you can do for yourself is detach from your work during breaks and lunch, and stop sitting all day.
Go for a short walk or meet a friend for lunch. Getting away from your desk/office gives your brain a break and gives you a chance to unwind from work stress, plus it gets you moving. (And no, a work lunch out of the office doesn’t count because it doesn’t give you a mental break.)
If you need a little more encouragement to not eat at your desk, according to microbiologists at the University of Arizona, the average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat! Bon appetit!
7) Adopt A New Hobby Or Activity
Schedule time in your day for some fun, even if it’s only for 10 to 15 minutes.
Take up a new hobby or activity that has nothing to do with work. It can be something you can do with family or friends, and gets you out of the house/office!
8) Take Vacations
Everyone needs time away from work, and the stress and responsibilities that go along with it.
And I’m betting you have plenty of vacation time stockpiled!
So take it!
Separate your work life from your personal life. Focus on the things that are really important to you, like you, your family and friends, and recharge.
If you schedule your vacations in advance, you won’t be as tempted to blow them off when the next big project comes around.
And remember, no checking in with the office while you’re away.
9) Take Care Of Yourself
This final step ties in with some of the others – eat, sleep and exercise regularly.
Workaholics are addicts. To fight their compulsion takes time and energy.
Get the amount of sleep your body needs every night, don’t skip meals and exercise.
Your body needs fuel to keep it functioning optimally, giving you the physical and mental strength to focus on what’s really important.
Remember, you should work to live, not live to work!
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Anibal Gonzalez says
Excellent description of a Workaholic.
Just a comment, yes you can overcome that addiction and find a real work life balance. Just need to recognize that you are an addict and work towards breaking those habits.
Is not easy, but is definitively doable