How not to Let Working Hard Turn You into a Workaholic

Loving your job and working hard in order to get everything done with the highest quality is completely fine. Being motivated to do your job well and spending time developing your career is something to admire, especially if the way your career is heading is going to help you reach financial stability, provide for your family and make sure that you have a place of your own, and you still have some left to have fun with your loved ones. However, when you work long hours and constantly think about your job, it can lead to you becoming a workaholic. Do you prioritize your job over your family and friends?

Do you work in order to make money so you could live your life the way you want, or you simply love work above all else? There is a fine line between being a hard worker and being a workaholic. Hard workers work so that they would earn money, and while they can love their job very much, they set their priorities straight and know that family and non-material things are what really matters in life. On the other hand, workaholics don’t see far beyond their work – their work is commonly the only thing that makes them happy and satisfied, and they tend to feel nervous when they’re doing anything unrelated to work, as they feel that they’re missing out. Again, working towards developing your career and becoming who you want to be professionally is great, but forgetting about what truly matters and focusing your entire life solely on work means that you’re a workaholic. Workaholics are usually great at what they do, but their social lives and personal relationships are either damaged or non-existent. They literally become slaves to their work, which takes over every aspect of their lives.
You can be driven, motivated, hardworking and committed to your job without becoming a workaholic. There is a fine line between the two, but you can make it thicker if you realize what you value most in life and stick to it. Creating a balance means everything, and if you how to do that, read on to get some ideas that might help you continue working hard and achieving your professional goals and avoid becoming a workaholic.

1. Set work-unrelated priorities
It can be easy to get carried away with your work, especially if it’s bringing you a kind of satisfaction that you haven’t experienced before. Spending late hours at the office working on projects, being late for family and social events, or simply missing them can seem justifiable to you, because ‘you had to work’. But did you really? Do you really have to work so much that you can’t spare some time to spend with the people you love? If you noticed that you’re focusing only on work, and letting family and friends come second, but far below your job, you should consider setting your work-unrelated priorities. What makes you happy? What would you like to do when you’re not working? Who would you like to see? For instance, you may want to spend some quality time with your partner, go to a dinner, read a good book and relax in a hot tub, go on a field trip with your family, or whatever else that makes you happy and relaxes you. Your time away from work should be unrelated to work, and in order to avoid becoming a workaholic, you need to realize that as soon as possible. If you have trouble sticking to your personal priorities, write them down on a piece of paper and put them somewhere you can see them and be constantly reminded.

2.  Put your personal priorities into your planner
If it’s easy for you to choose work instead of spending some quality time with your loved ones or simply doing something for yourself, you are probably a type of person who has their whole planner filled out, and a ton of obligations waiting to be committed to. Well, one solution for this problem is to down your personal ‘obligations’ (such as spending an hour or two with your partner, going to the cinema, simply relaxing or whatever else that has nothing to do with work and you enjoy)into your planner and make sure you honor them. If someone calls you and asks you to do some work at the time you reserved to be your personal time, you should say that you already have something scheduled and offer a different time to perform that work-related task. You shouldn’t let your job take over your personal life. This is one way to prevent it from happening.

3. Listen to your body
People who work too hard usually don’t pay much attention to what their bodies are telling them. They start feeling tired, cranky and apathetic and their immune systems weaken because they usually don’t eat well (as they just eat whatever they get their hands on – something that they can eat fast so that eating doesn’t take too much time which they could be spending working), sleep well or actually rest properly. If you noticed that you’re constantly tired, you have headaches and you’re constantly catching colds, it is probably time to slow down. Working hard and having some time to rest, work out, eat properly and have some quality sleep is a completely achievable goal, you just have to organize your time better.

4. Set clear boundaries
If your working hours are from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., or any other fixed time, make sure you arrive and head out on time. Don’t stay at the office late and when you exit, make sure you don’t think about work too much. Let yourself relax and unwind, and have some time for yourself. Rest will not harm your career, it may even improve it, as when you’re well rested you’re more productive and effective.