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5 Tips to Manage Workaholism

Updated: May 20, 2022

A workaholic is someone who compulsively obsess over work, often sacrificing their social life and mental and physical health. Harvard Business Review talks about how being a workaholic differs from working long hours.

In short, people who obsess over work show more sleeping problems, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and depressive feelings than people who work the same hours and don’t obsess over work. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to help manage workaholism to keep you healthy and happy.

Set a timer

Most tasks can be finished in 45 minutes or less, but either way, if you adhere to a timer you can make significant progress on something while also making sure you take a break. If you are working at a monitor all day, make sure to get away from the screen every two hours or so to give your eyes a rest.

Think of yourself like a computer that will overheat if you are running too many tasks at once. You need to allow yourself to cool down and pace yourself in order to stay productive for a longer and more consistent period of time.

Commit to one day of rest a week

There’s a reason that Sunday is considered a day of rest. Even if you’re a weekend worker, it’s important to create a mindset of relaxation once a week whether it’s Sunday or not. Proper rest is as important as any task you’ve got on your plate, as it allows you to reset and ensures you will continue to have high quality work later.

Separate your work and rest environments

It can be difficult to stop when you’re in an environment where you’re used to working. It’s become a fun fact that your bed should only be used for resting and leisure activities, and the same applies to your work environment - doubly so if you work from home.

Implementing even little details to keep your work and playtime separate is crucial, even if it’s something as small as closing all of your work-related planners, notebooks, and materials at the end of your work day and putting them out of sight. Rituals like these are important because they truly affect the mind even if you are no conscious of it.

Check in with yourself

It can be helpful to set an alarm or reminder to do a committed self check-in once a day (we recommend lunch time so you can’t skip it). During this time, you can meditate or simply allow yourself to enjoy a few deep breaths and take note of how you’re feeling. Are you stressed? Hungry? Thirsty? Too warm? Too cold? If you want to take this a step further, keep a simple log of how you’re feeling during your check-in on a daily basis and review it weekly to monthly to see if you can identify any patterns.

Use your vacation time

If you’re employed at an office, it’s likely that you have a mandated amount of vacation time. Make sure to use it, and make sure to time it to when you really need it. It can be tempting if you have an open vacation policy to feel pressured to work as much as possible, but if this applies to you, that policy exists for a reason.

It can be even more difficult in some ways to use your vacation time if you’re self-employed or freelancing. Have you granted yourself vacation time? If this applies to you, it might be a good idea to set some holidays in place ahead of time, even if it’s less than the average.

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