There is a fine line between a hard-worker and a workaholic, and it is important to see which side of that line you fall on. While we would never advocate for slacking off, it is important to make sure that you are burning your working candle on both ends. In the short term a worker with workaholic tendencies is very useful, but ultimately it is better to have a consistent and healthy worker, than an erratic workaholic. Today we are going to look at some ways to combat workaholism (that are worth trying, even if you aren’t much of one).
Allow yourself free-time- If you find that you are working more than 40 hours a week, and also spending your time off answering e-mails- you are working too much. If you go for long stretches without taking any days off, you are working too much. If you think about work for an extended period of time every day, it is time to scale back. In order to be a happy person, and a good worker, you need to be a person that is not a worker from time to time.
You are not responsible for your entire department- If you feel like you are running the entire department by yourself you need to scale back. Most departments have one person who fills this role, but it does not need to be you. When there is slack in the line, it will get picked up, either entirely by one person, or everyone will pick up a little bit of it. If you always pick up the slack, no one else feels like they have to, and so no one else does. If you slow down and let your co-workers work a little harder, not only will you be happier, but the whole department will fare better.
Set clear goals- Start every week knowing exactly what you want to accomplish, and accomplish exactly that. You may get some curveballs throughout the week, you may find there are new projects cropping up, but let those be problems for next week. If you set clear goals and stick to them it is a lot easier not to get side-tracked or overbooked.
Stop multi-tasking. If you show me a workaholic and I’ll show you a multi-tasker. Show me a multi-tasker and I’ll show you a potential workaholic. When we are juggling multiple tasks and goals it is nearly impossible to relax, which leads us to more work, which leads to more tasks. The cycle of workaholism relies on multi-tasking. Don’t let it grab you- pick one task and complete that task. After that you can start on a new one, but do not attempt to do two different things at once, it will snowball and you will go back to being swamped. Your work also suffers if you take on too much, if you can’t focus on your task you will not do as good of a job. So slow down, stay on task, and you will be glad you did.
If any of this feels grotesquely familiar, take a good look at your relationship with your work. You may be showing early warning signs of working too hard, and could benefit from a little relaxation.