How to Avoid Becoming a Workaholic

I was in a social gathering not long ago and I overheard several conversations that included bragging about how hard they were working, how they missed other events because of work, and now they had to take a call because the business needed them. It saddened me to see these people in a social gathering, yet unable to spend time being social with the people around them. What amazed me more was the number of people who responded, “oh he/she is such a hard worker”.

It seems we tend to celebrate the workaholic lifestyle. Think about how many people you’ve met in a gathering like the one I just described.   We admire the people who brag about staying up all night working or never taking a vacation day. This mentality boggles the mind.

Studies have shown that a person’s productivity decreases significantly long before many call it quits for the day. If you’re working a lot of hours, you’re probably getting a lot less done.

Do you feel you are heading towards becoming a workaholic?

Here are some strategies to help you prevent work from taking over your life:

  1. Set a time boundary. It helps to put a limit on your workday, like going home at 6 pm. Or perhaps it would be turn off the work computer and phone at a specific time. Consider putting a limit on a specific task, like one or two hours. Having a schedule can actually help you focus, too. If you know that a task has to be done by a certain time, you’ll stay focused.
  2. Disconnect from the Internet. Maybe you’re working all hours of the night because you’re wasting too much time online. It’s very easy to get distracted by social media posts, online games, and news sites. While some tasks require an Internet connection, there aren’t many. Download that document you are working on and edit it offline, leaving those online distractions off.
  3. 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. It is up to you to make the time. If you have a good reason to not work, you’ll generally spend less time at work.
  4. Spend time with your family and friends. Your family is a big part of the reason you’re working anyway; so why do you ignore them so you can spend more time working. Even if you are in the room; are you paying attention to your computer and phone or are you present with the family. Are you physically present, yet mentally at work? Take the time to enjoy them. Your kids will be gone and out of the house before you know it.
  5. Spend less time working and get more done. Are you working longer hours because you can’t get enough done during regular business hours?  Are you, perhaps spending an inordinate amount of your time on tasks that simply don’t matter that much. Allocate most of your time on the most important tasks, instead.  If you set a real-time limit, you’ll be forced to focus your attention on the most important things. Get the big stuff done and then get to as much of the little stuff as you can. While you work on the task at hand, delegate other portions to others. Get more done in less time.
  6. Focus on your health. Working too much is simply unhealthy. Between the stresses, lack of sleep, and horrible food, a serious toll is taken on your body, health, and emotional well-being. Give your health a priority and you’ll begin to see your working tendencies in a new light.
  7. 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. Take note of their pointers and advice. What can you apply to your own life?

Remember, no one says on their deathbed, “I wish I had spent more time at work.” In the long run, family is always a priority.

You can start to intentionally 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.

Too much time at work negatively affects your relationship with your family and friends.

Are you ready to change your PERSPECTIVE about your working time, exploring the POSSIBILITIES and new PATHWAYS opening onto which you will PROCEED? The choice is yours.

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