Work addiction is just like most other addictions. It’s hard to break and you’ll need to be mindful about it at all times so that you can wean yourself off this addiction.
The good news is that unlike smoking or drug addiction, it’s easier to stop being a workaholic. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy… and in these times, with the workload and stresses that abound, Jack just might go mad if he doesn’t take a break.
The first step to understanding why you’re addicted to work will be to self-reflect on why you’re doing what you’re doing.
- Understanding your feelings
Very often, there are feelings of guilt or fear associated with working too much. You may feel guilty at not earning enough to provide for your family. Or maybe you’re working long hours just to please your boss because you fear losing your job.
If you’re an entrepreneur who works 12 to 16-hour days just to speed up the process and earn six figures a month, your lack of patience might be taking a toll on your physical and mental health.
Once you understand what’s making you work such long hours, you’ll be able to understand how to fix the root cause of the problem. In some cases, it would be a good idea to speak to a professional for guidance.
- Following a schedule
The best way to break work addiction will be to have a fixed schedule that you blindly follow. This will mean starting work at the same time every day and stopping at the same time.
Ideally, you shouldn’t be working more than 8 or 9 hours a day. You could push it up to 12 hours, but not beyond that. Even 12 hours is extreme.
If you work a day job, leave the moment work ends. Staying longer at the office is not a reflection of your dedication, but a display of your lack of productivity.
All work you need to complete for the day needs to get done within the working hours. Then it’s time for you to switch off and wind down.
You MUST be extremely strict with this routine of starting and stopping work at the same time daily. This will help you break your addiction to work and help you to let go of the need to keep hustling and grinding to do more and more to a point where it’s a never-ending cycle.
- Increasing productivity
You can get more done in a shorter time by increasing your productivity. Very often, people spend time at the water cooler gossiping, or attending unnecessary meetings that are time wasters.
Eliminate all time-wasting activities from your work schedule. Use a pomodoro timer to keep you on track and focused. You want to be doing work that matters and not just ‘busy work’ that makes it look like you’re working – but what you’re doing is irrelevant, and you’ll need to spend more time doing the relevant work later.
Whatever can be automated, should be automated. Whatever can be delegated, should be delegated.
Time is your most important resource. Micromanaging and perfectionism will only stress you out. Pass off your mundane tasks to someone else if you can, and only focus on the highly important tasks that matter.
You may need to pay for software or hire help (workers, freelancers, etc.) to handle your workload. The investment will pay for itself many times over by freeing up your time so that you’re not overworked.
Exercise is fantastic for giving you a mental break from the stresses at work. It’ll also release dopamine in your body.
Try to end every work day with a 20-minute exercise session. It could be yoga or sprints or just some bodyweight training. These 20 minutes will help your body stretch the muscles, get the heart pumping and the blood flowing.
You’ll feel better and less stressed out. You’ll also have something to look forward to after work, provided you enjoy the activity you’re doing. So, find one that’s fun.
“Workaholics are addicted to activity; super achievers are committed to results.” – Charles Garfield