You love what you do. You love your career and your business.
Every day brings new challenges you’re ready to take on. On your free time, you’re thinking of that unfinished project or that email you didn’t have time to send.
If you do just one more little thing, you are a step closer to finishing the project.
One thing leads to another, and soon you find yourself leaving work way past normal hours. Weekends pass in a blur with you working or thinking of work.
Does this sound like you?
You are not alone!
Our culture promotes hard work in order to achieve your dreams. From school until entering the workforce, you hear over and over again how you have to work hard to succeed.
While working hard is good for your career and your business, you do have to know when to stop and enjoy life.
What’s the point of working so hard if you don’t have time to enjoy the results?
Plus, you have only one life (as far as we know), so why not enjoy it?
A Little Story
When I was in college I was fascinated by those who worked for consulting companies.
Big corporations were coming in Romania, and there was something very appealing about going to work all dressed up, working in a huge glass building.
I wanted that too. So I made everything possible to make acquaintances among people working for those companies.
It wasn’t easy, but finally, I did it. I started talking to them.
Some of them were still in college while working part-time, others joined the companies straight after college.
I thought they were so lucky to be able to go to such a beautiful place to work.
Soon, the reality started to creep in. At this point I was friends with some of the people I met, so they opened up to me.
What I was to find out it was totally unexpected and crushed my dreams.
All the outside glamor of working for one of those companies did not reflect in the trenches.
The reality was ugly for my 19-years old mind: They were working literally from 7-8 a.m. until midnight. Sometimes they had lunch breaks, sometimes they did not have time to stop and eat. They did not see their friends or families ever since they started working there.
Working on weekends was “expected” if you wanted to be considered for a promotion.
To all this add the internal fight between colleagues and sometimes friends, all because of work.
I still remember how disappointed I was to find out all that. Disappointment aside, it made me reconsider what I wanted to do when I grew up.
How to Know if You’re a Workaholic
It’s been many years since that story, yet many times I found myself in the position of working too much.
I love my work and I always want to give the best.
How do you know if you’re a workaholic or in danger of becoming one?
Norwegian researchers at the University of Bergen identified specific symptoms workaholics share.
- Do you spend time thinking how you can free up more work?
- You spend much more time working than initially intended.
- Do you become stressed if you are prohibited from working?
- You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
- Do you deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and/or exercise because of work?
- You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and/or depression.
- You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.
The research team says if you answered “often” or “always” to at least four of these seven criteria, you may be a workaholic.
I would add if you find yourself in one of the above situations, it’s time to take action before it’s too late.
Three Ways to Avoid Becoming a Workaholic
Stop Working After a Certain Time
Focus on becoming more productive in a shorter period of time.
Set a timer to get up from your desk after 1-2 hours of non-stop work. Whether to walk around your office or take a walk around the block, force yourself to do it.
It will help clear and refresh your mind.
Pay attention to how your brain responds after a number of hours of work. If you find yourself drifting while working, it’s time to stop.
Set a reminder and force yourself to stop working after a certain time.
Once you left work, stop checking your email, social media, or any other work-related communication.
If you work from home and feel like temptation is too big, leave your home office or your work area and join the family.
Participate in family activities, read a book, or watch a movie.
If the weather is nice, go outside for a run or a walk.
Schedule Other Things in Your Day
Because you may be tempted to check email “just once”, schedule other things in your day.
It can be going out with friends, with your significant other, or your kids. Hire a trainer and go to the gym.
Find a side project you are passionate about and commit to working on it a couple of times per week.
Stop and smell the roses. If you need to, set a reminder for it.
The bottom line is life is too short. Even if you love your job or business, this doesn’t have to be at the expense of your health or personal life.
Besides, you are more creative and productive when you are happy and enjoy life.
What do you do to avoid working too much?