Are you a workaholic? For some of you, this is as simple as a nod. Others justify their inappropriate work-related behavior.
So many people misunderstand what it means to be a workaholic and a hard-worker. Here is the difference between the two: A workaholic is an individual that places most energy into work than any other activity in his/her life. This faulty habit causes damage to health, relationships, and work quality. On the other hand, a hard worker is one who does not mind working extra hours but maintains great relationships with the ones that matter most. These people continue to enjoy their lives and have less stress.
“Life is too short to work so hard.”
– Vivien Leigh
What You Should Know
The danger in workaholism is that work becomes mundane. The person operating in such a mindset fails to enjoy their job and develop an outside life. In fact, a workaholic continues to spin out of control because there is nothing else for them to do with their free time. Instead, they cater to an unhealthy obsession with perfection. This is exactly what an addiction looks like.
Many people are confusing their extra hours as workaholism. However, they are justified. In today’s economy, people are putting in extra hours to support their families. What separates workaholism from hard work is the decline in their personal life. The average workaholic encounters success in their work lives while their families are falling apart. These people usually experience issues in their mental and physical health. The unfortunate fact is that while workaholics want to see a positive change in their deteriorating personal lives, they rarely make the change that is necessary.
At this point, you may be wondering, “Am I a workaholic or simply a hard worker?” Here are some telltale signs:
4 Signs You Are a Hard Worker:
- You get pleasure out of work.
- You know how to set boundaries with work time and family time.
- You do not wish to do the impossible.
- You take frequent breaks.
4 Signs You Are a Workaholic:
- You mostly think about work.
- You work during inappropriate hours.
- You use work as a way to escape your reality.
- You are driven to complete impossible tasks.
If you identify with the latter, here are some tips that you can use to help reverse the curse of workaholism and experience freedom in your life again.
1. Winning is not everything.
Sure, we all love to carry out great ventures. It is perfectly normal to feel great about your work after putting in the necessary time to complete it. However, this should not be what motivates your work. Instead, try replacing your work-motivated momentum with the things that matter most to you. What do you love? What excites you? Is there anything you can create that will impact your life and those around you? List those things down on paper along with activities that are not connected to work. In this way, you can experience true balance and actually enjoy what you do.
2. Quit overdosing.
Simply put, stop your workaholic ways. Put an end to the long hours that leave you fatigued during the day. There is a danger in becoming utterly obsessed with your work. This inevitable monster shows up in your friendships and family life. A few things you can do now is:
- Set boundaries with work time. Let’s say your normal hours of work are 9-5. Decide to end all work-related tasks at 6pm and stick to the plan. Try keeping work in the office. Do not take it home. Whatever task you could not complete that given day, you can finish the next day.
- Avoid checking mail or other work-related communications. Consider turning off your smart phone and closing your laptop after a certain time. Make it your intention to stop all communication with bosses, coworkers, and clients at home. Also, avoid bringing such communication devices to personal events like birthday parties, vacationing trips, or family outings. This will help save your sanity while keeping the relationships that matter most intact.
- Take time for leisure. You work hard throughout the day, now it is the time that you have fun. Consider planning an outing with a friend. Find a fitness center to blow off steam. Set a date with your partner. Pursue your creative projects. Take time for leisure to support balance in your life.
- Just RELAX. You may have a long list of tasks to complete at the office, but there is always a time that you need to distress regroup. You may wish for vacation time but are not able to get the time off. Consider starting a 10-15 minute break every so often. Use that time to take a walk, journal, exercise, or focus on a hobby. If you do not know what you love to do outside of work, do not let that stop you. Get involved with anything. Start something and see if it is the best fit for you. Sometimes all you need to get started is to take that first step.
- Plan some alone time. With a busy schedule like yours, it is important that you schedule some quiet time. This could be anywhere from 10-30 minutes where you focus on a quiet activity that promotes solitude. Consider taking a walk in the local park, reading, or meditating. Make sure that where ever you decide to do this is a quiet environment. Do not be afraid to let your co-workers or family members know that you are taking time for solitude.
3. Avoid feelings of guilt.
At first, it may be difficult to set proper boundaries with work and home. This tug of war is completely normal and means that you are making progress. Nonetheless, you should avoid feelings of guilt that make you feel horrible for setting order.
You work hard but you must understand that you are not a superhero. You are only human. Take care of yourself and take back control of your life today. Implement these tips into your work habits so that you can experience the freedom you deserve.