More often than not, we revere people who are able to stretch their time to get more accomplished and are deeply devoted to their work.
I know this because I experienced it. I was working long shifts—more than 60 hours a week—but I didn’t feel the need to rest until one day, my brain completely shut down, and my body begged for a break. I couldn’t concentrate on my work, and my personal life had taken heavy losses.
That’s why I went deep into research to come up with some workable, tested methods for overcoming workaholism. What I learned helped me achieve my productive best without compromising my work ethic. I will share more about it, but first, let’s go over the basics.
What is workaholism?
In layman’s terms, workaholism is the act of working excessively without feeling the need to take a break or simply unplug. It happens when an individual is working compulsively at the expense of other pursuits.
There is a thin line between working smart and working hard. Following are some behaviors that may indicate workaholism:
- Always being the first to arrive in the office and last to leave
- Working on weekends as well
- Taking on more work than you can handle
- Working remotely, even on vacations
I ticked all the boxes, and that’s when I decided it was time to take action. Here are four steps I tried, which might help you cultivate healthier work habits.
The four-step solution to workaholism
It’s important for people to focus on their health and well-being, especially if they want to be productive. So, as a successful employer, you need to take a step back and communicate your problems to come up with an effective solution and increase your productivity.
Once you have done so, take these steps to break away from workaholism.
1. Acknowledge the problem
The first step is to skip denial and acknowledge that you have a problem.
Admit to yourself that your work habits are not healthy and need to change for you to get back to good mental health. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you constantly checking work emails?
- Do you find it difficult to unplug?
- If you’re away from your desk, do you feel the need to get back to it as soon as possible?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a tendency toward workaholism.
2. Discover the reason behind it
Identify the reason you started working obsessively. Ask yourself:
- Do you find it difficult to say no?
- Did it start with poor implementation of project management principles?
- Do you work to avoid other issues?
These are very personal questions, but sometimes we take on more work in an unconscious attempt to avoid another issue or simply because we find it difficult to refuse.
3. Make a plan
Once you know the reason behind your workaholism, it is time for a plan of action to help you break away from the situation.
The aim is to become more productive and work smart. If you’re working from home, implement best practices to improve remote work productivity.
If you work from an office, take essential breaks to establish a flow of work. You might also consider adopting the Pomodoro method to divide your work into segments that will help you plan your day better.
4. Commit and implement
With your reasons and plan by your side, the only thing left is to implement this plan and reap the results.
Make a daily schedule of your commitments and tasks, and take one thing at a time. You can choose from a variety of existing daily schedule templates or build one yourself.
One productivity tip is to manage email accounts from one platform, such as Mailbird, so you can skim through everything in one place.
Workaholism is more than just working long hours. It’s a mental condition, and like every other condition, it requires help. At the end of the day, it is on you to communicate your issues and ask for this help.
Taking breaks or simply taking a step back are not signs of weakness. Rest will ultimately help you become even better at your work and push your productivity levels up. So, take charge of your situation, and get in sync with yourself.
Contributed to EO by Roman Shvydun, a writer who focuses on business, marketing, productivity, workplace culture and other related topics.