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Ways to Avoid Becoming a Workaholic: Developing a Work-Life Balance

Do you know someone who is a workaholic? Or maybe you are one yourself? A workaholic is someone who is addicted to work and can't seem to stop. They work long hours, often at the expense of their personal life. If you're a workaholic, you may find that you're never really off the clock. You're always thinking about work, even when you're supposed to be relaxing.

Being a workaholic can be detrimental to your health. It can lead to burnout, anxiety, and depression. If you're a workaholic, it's important to find a balance between work and play. Make sure to take time for yourself and your loved ones. Don't let work consume your life until the point that it impacts your overall health and well-being.

From a reader…

Developing a strong work-life balance is something that I have always struggled with, and I am sure I am not alone. Lacking this essential balance and becoming a “workaholic” can have very strong negative effects on your mental health. When all you do is work, it can start to isolate you from your friends and family. It can feel like a constant pressure that you don’t know how to relieve. Being hyper-focused on work all hours of the day can impact your ability to sleep and it can lead to negative coping behaviors.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my job. I thoroughly enjoy the work that I do, and I feel like I get to make a difference in people’s lives every day. But that doesn’t change the fact that I consistently have to work on finding a good balance. It is especially difficult in a virtual work environment. Individuals who work from home may feel like they never actually clock out at the end of the day. For people who don’t work from home, they still might experience all-hour connections to work. For instance, our coworkers being able to contact us through our cell phones at any time of day can cause us to work more hours than needed.

Tips for Change

What the reader mentions is true. In this interconnected world, it is becoming more and more difficult to disconnected. But doing so is essential to preserve your mental health. Here are a few tips on what you can do to help yourself create a strong work-life balance.

1. Physically Shut Down Your Computer – This is huge, especially for people working from home. When it reaches the end of your day, physically close your computer so that you have a concrete end to your day. Shutting down your computer will act as a signal to your brain that your work is done for the day and this allows you to feel ready to move on to the rest of your day without obsessing about what you could be doing to be even more productive on the job.

2. Have a Designated Workspace – Make sure to not work in the same space that you do other activities. Try to avoid working from your bed or your couch. Find a different location that will serve as a work only zone so that when you finish, you can physically leave that space. Working in our bedroom will distort your brains perception of the purpose of this space. Instead of it feeling relaxing, it could become a stressful environment, ultimately causing sleep difficulties.

3. Set Firm Communication Boundaries – You may not be able to prevent other people from emailing you on the weekends or texting you later in the evening, but you can set a boundary with yourself to not check those emails and to save your responses until your working hours. If it is a consistent problem, consider addressing it with your colleagues to let them know that you would appreciate if they do not reach out when it is not within working hours. You might also set a weekend auto-reply that clearly states you are out of the office until Monday.

4. Set up Morning and End-of-day Rituals – We often get caught up in working constantly because we have a hard time deciding that we have done enough for the day. If you set consistent routines for the beginning and end of your day, you will have closure to move on after work. For instance, starting your mornings with checking emails and writing out a to-do list will set the tone for the day. In the early evening, reviewing this list and choosing one last task to work on for the last hour will allow you to feel more accomplished. Keep the simplest activity for the end of the day.

Finding a strong work-life balance is very challenging but so important! Remember, you are not living to work, you are working to live. Don’t allow work to consume you when there is a whole world around you to live in and enjoy.


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