I’ll admit this is an area I struggle with as I tend to work more than I should. Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken steps to change my habit of working too much.
We’re in a global culture of being busy. Whenever we say we’re busy, it’s like a badge of honour because it makes us feel we’re important and we actually matter. We also use being busy as an excuse not to pursue what we really want to do in life.
If we ask most people what they’re busy with, it almost always comes down to day-to-day responsibilities and working to make ends meet. The truth is most people are busy doing work they would rather not be doing. So we get caught in this trap of being busy, doing work that’s not inspiring or fulfilling, which takes us away from what we’d rather be doing.
5 Signs You’re a Workaholic
- You spend a lot more time working than originally planned, which cuts into your evenings and weekends.
- You put your work before other areas of your life like health, relationships or family.
- You use work as a distraction not to face the real issues or challenges going on in your life.
- You free up time, that is, give up your leisure time, so you can do more work.
- You are highly stressed and fatigued, which generates feelings of anxiety, frustration and overwhelm.
It’s time to stop working ourselves to the ground and break the workaholism trap.
For many years, I also worked on both days on weekends, which meant I was not giving myself enough rest. I felt I needed to constantly be working in order to complete the things I wanted to get done. While it produced some good results, it came at a cost.
My health suffered and it took me longer to complete things, which caused me to work even more. The changes I made as a result of having some health issues included not working at night and giving myself at least one full day off on weekends.
I’m still working on getting to a stage where I can have the weekends free and also work less hours during the week. That’s the goal I am working towards.
5 Ways to Prevent Yourself From Becoming a Workaholic
- Focus more on self care. We’ll actually be more effective when working if we’re taking care of ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically. This is why companies are investing in employee wellness programs, having flexible hours, and placing more emphasis on a better life outside work.
- Know your limits. Nobody is indestructible because we have a certain threshold. If we reach and exceed that threshold, it will affect us. This is why we have to learn to take on less things and become more comfortable saying no. There will be exceptions we may have to accept but they should not become the norm. Learning better scheduling or priority management techniques can be really helpful as well.
- Clarify expectations. We tend to take on things without fully appreciating what’s required of us. This is why we need to be clear on what is required of us by other people, whether they’re our families, clients or bosses. We may have to negotiate to find a happy medium for everyone involved. The more clarity we have, the easier it will be to stay on task and complete what’s required in a timely manner.
- Ask for help, where necessary. Help is often available to us—we just have to ask. Help can come through delegating work or outsourcing it to relevant people. The more willing we are to ask for help, the easier we will make things for ourselves.
- Schedule time for play. As kids, we loved to have fun and play, so it should not be any different as adults. When we plan our year, it’s advisable to plan our personal life first because we want work to support our personal life, not the other way around. Giving ourselves rewards for achieving goals or reaching milestones can be a good way to start introducing more play into our lives.
We typically spend a third of our lives working so it’s an important part of our lives. We have to be aware of why we are working or doing anything in life, and ensure it doesn’t become an addiction. If we have a healthy balance between doing work and having fun, we’ll be much happier in life. If we continue to work more than we know we should, it will be at a significant cost to other areas of our lives.
Question: What is another way to prevent ourselves from becoming workaholics?
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