For centuries, entrepreneurs, authors, politicians, and educators have been riding on the notion. You need to work hard to achieve anything. Even if it includes working long hours throughout, including weekends, this is an idea that has led to a significant increase in the number of work addicts. As a result, you focus on working so much and become a workaholic, and in the process, you neglect other aspects of your life.
This does not mean work is not essential. Work helps build skills and financial gains. It also provides a sense of fulfillment, purpose, and confidence. However, if work becomes the driving force behind everything that happens in your life, it will eventually affect your health.
Who is a Workaholic?
The term workaholic generally implies a person who feels compelled to work, even if they don’t enjoy it. In other words, you work at the expense of sleep and social functions, like meeting your family and friends. Also, a workaholic is a work addict.
Although there is no medical definition of this term, workaholic, it causes a few health-related conditions such as stress, obsessive-compulsive, impulse control disorder, and personality disorder. Similarly, there are terms like ergomania, which refer to someone who has excessive devotion to work and is also considered a symptom of mental illness. The other word is hustle culture, a coinage phrase for workaholism that relates to extreme dedication to work until it causes an unhealthy work-life balance.
If this feels like you, you are in the right place. This article covers ten things to do to avoid becoming a workaholic.
1. Manage Your Work Time
One of the greatest resources at your disposal is time. And in most cases, it defines how much you get paid depending on your skills and level of expertise. So it’s best you used your time wisely. This may include assigning time limits to each task. Doing so helps cultivate a culture of organizing your work and setting time limits on tasks. Besides, you can avoid wasting energy on non-essential projects and dedicate more time to more impactful tasks. More importantly, you need to spend your time wisely if you want to avoid burnout.
2. Delegate Roles
Delegating your duties to those you consider relevant allows you more personal time and increases productivity. To start, you need to list down all tasks according to their level of importance and priority. This way, you will know which project requires your expertise and which to assign to another person.
Also, be honest about what you can take. Because if you overwhelm yourself, you will end up with chronic fatigue that may lead to mental issues and underperforming. For these reasons, you must learn to say no to some tasks and seek help where possible. The whole delegation process becomes simple if you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team and how to use them.
3. Come up With Work Boundaries
You must define your working hours. For example, if you are supposed to leave work at six in the evening, it should be so no matter what. It may also include not checking emails and responding to clients while at home or on the weekends.
Even though sometimes business fluctuates, demand goes high, which might cause you to work more hours or reply to an email in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, you should never make it a habit.
Always keep in mind that you work to support yourself, your family, and, more importantly, your professional fulfillment, empowerment, and satisfaction. So create clear boundaries that will help you stir away from the workaholic category.
4. Focus More on Your Mental Health
By now, you must know workaholism causes physical and mental health problems. The latter manifests itself because of continuous pressure to perform, which affects your brain negatively. It further leads to prolonged stress, irritability, anxiety, and depression. Being a workaholic affects your mental and physical response, which virtually erodes your body entirely.
In addition, you are likely to suffer from insomnia because your mind is in a constant race of planning and rehearsing. It also harms your nervous system slowly.
5. Consider your Physical Health and Wellbeing
For those already suffering from chronic conditions like asthma and cardiovascular-related issues, overworking could impact them negatively. For example, it can damage or worsen your heart and lungs. Overworking causes immediate and future health complications, such as increased breathing rate. Other future complications included heart attack and stroke.
In essence, you can’t sustain being a workaholic for a long time. It will eventually catch up with your work and affect productivity. The reason being, overworking causes chronic fatigue and burnout, which further weakens the immune system. Unfortunately, in this state, you can’t work and will lead to more sick leaves instead. This will make you even more stressed.
6. Know When to Stop
Everyone has a limit. Yes, a certain threshold that you become destructible if you exceed. And for this reason, you need to learn to be comfortable saying no once you reach your limit. Although you can make some exceptions because of unavoidable reasons, it should never become an everyday norm.
To help you out, learn management techniques on how to schedule and prioritize your programs.
7. Define your Priorities
Don’t be that person who wants to solve everything in one day. If you adopt this kind of mentality, you create unnecessary pressure when you cannot achieve what you started. This leads to frustrations and makes you continue working tirelessly to prove yourself right. In the end, you become more exhausted physically and mentally.
To safeguard your mental health and physical wellbeing, define your priorities. Doing so gives a scope of the task to focus on according to their order of preference. This way, you will provide solutions or complete them without overburdening yourself.
8. Accepting you are Becoming A Workaholic
Of course, if you want to avoid becoming a workaholic, you must have noticed a trend. For example, you have been consistently working for long hours and on weekends. And since you know, that is not healthy for a creative soul. You want to avoid it. In short, if you don’t admit there is a problem, it becomes difficult to prevent or change the situation.
For this reason, learn about the habits of a workaholic and the symptoms of workaholism. Without further ado, here are signs of workaholism to look out for:
- Spend most of your time working
- You possess compulsive work habits such as frequently checking work emails.
- You equate your self-worth based on work successes or failure
- Afraid of taking some time off
- You prioritize work above anything else
- You use work to distract yourself from life’s problems
- Feel anxiety whenever you are not working
9. Understand What Causes Workaholism
Workaholism does not just happen. Several underlying issues cause it. If these issues remain unresolved, no effort can stop you from being obsessed with work. However, if you know why and how you work, it helps solve the problem from the source.
Some of these sources include death, failure, looking insignificant, feeling unneeded, feeling incomplete, and fear of life itself. To numb their fears, workaholics dedicate much time to working. They believe, if they work more hours, they will earn more, improve their career status, while others want to be busy to appear to be doing something right.
Overworking gives them a distraction to cling on, which is counterproductive in the long run. Such people need to overcome their fears first, and then, it will be easier to free themselves from the boredom of workaholism.
10. Understand that not Working Doesn’t Equal Unproductivity.
Workaholics equate not working to unproductivity. And for this reason, they find it uncomfortable to take some time off work. They can’t even take sick leave or go on a holiday. And even if they take a trip to the Bahamas or Hawaii, they will still spend more time on the phone following up or responding to emails from clients.
Such people believe every second spent away from work is time wasted, and that’s being unproductive. That’s why it’s vital they understand equating a day off to being unproductive is wrong. In fact, they should know and appreciate that taking time off more often enhances efficiency and increases productivity.
In addition, you need to recharge and take care of other aspects of your life for you to remain continually productive. To do so, you need to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul by creating time for leisure.
Humans spend a third of their lifetime working, so it’s easy to become a workaholic in no time if you are not careful. For this reason, everyone needs to find the right work-life balance. It’s paramount that everyone finds one. It helps maintain sanity and allows you an opportunity to focus on other critical elements in life, like sleeping, exercising, eating right, and spending time with family and friends. Not forgetting, chronic fatigue and burnout can hinder your creativity and efficiency if you don’t find that balance