Workaholic? how to get out

It’s the fourth day into the ‘Golden Week’ national  holiday here in China.  I have tried hard to do something fun, and not think about work. However, it’s now so easy since I don’t feel relaxed knowing that I will be very busy after the holiday.

I keep thinking about how I could be working NOW to reduce my workload after the holidays. If I could just work hard now, the future would be so much better.

Or so I tell myself.

As an Analyst, I have truly immersed myself into a routine of 10 to 7. Yet it doesn’t end there.  I also spend more time back home at night and weekends trying to complete reports and beat deadlines. Then the rest of my spare time is spent looking at news articles on the latest development in the tech industry.

So, it seems,  I too have become a workaholic.

Are we forced to work more?

Being relatively new to the industry, I believe I have to work fast to catch-up. It’s an ever-changing technological landscape, and one has to stay on top. This rapid change makes me think I have to work harder and harder, just to keep up.

On the other hand, cutting edge technology is what makes me tick.  I am ‘in the zone’ when I’m working on reports and research works,  long after others have gone to bed.

Now I believe my obsession is not the only cause of my workaholism.  There may be other reasons, which include:

  1. Striving to be the best in your field
  2. Worried that the work is not perfect
  3. Trying to increase productivity
  4. Peer pressure
  5. Distractions during work time
  6. Urgency and short deadlines
  7. Heavy workloads
  8. Additional overtime compensations

Although there are plenty of external factors that can turn someone into a workaholic, I believe that most workaholics become one due to internal factors.

Many workaholics  knowingly and willingly trade in time and energy to do something bigger.  These may Include achieving the inward sense of achievement, knowing we are climbing the corporate ladder, increasing our earnings credibility, or sacrificing  time and health to achieve a greater inward desire.

Being a Workaholic may be good for your job, but not your life

Implications of being a workaholic are often serious. Especially if kept unchecked. Below are some examples of the implications:

  1. Restlessness
  2. Lack of sleep
  3. Non-active and unhealthy lifestyle
  4. Lack of social interaction
  5. Chronic stress
  6. Burn-out
  7. Self-contempt
  8. Diminishing interests in work

The habit of overworking causes one to fall into the vicious cycle of a workaholic:my-name-is-workaholic

Workaholics sacrifice more than you think

In the process of trying to achieve the best, we may sacrifice a lot of things that are dear to us, and even ignore hobbies we used to love, or relationships that brought us joy.

In order to break the cycle of a workaholic, we need to find the passion that once made our lives worth living.  These are the things that help put us into another state of mind. A state where work is forgotten.

For me, it used to be gaming, writing for leisure and photography. However, these I have not done for a very long time…

Now as I look back, I realize I have allowed my work to push these areas aside. Now they lie in a pile of regret and neglect.

Thanks a lot, Workaholic me.

Work is not the issue, Mr. and Mrs. Workaholic

Now, of course,  leaving work back at the office is challenging. Especially in the age of smartphones and uninterrupted emails and instant messengers.  Yet, in the end, we need to realize that work is taking over our lives. Regardless of how ‘convenient’ modern communication has become.

Next,  we must understand  that ‘work’ is truly endless. It will always be there.  Work will always need to be done.  It will continue even if we were to work every day for the rest of our lives.

SO, stop making excuses and start to accept that work is not the problem. WE ARE.

To cope with this, Workaholics can take the steps below:

  1. Start scheduling: prioritize, and set a reasonable yet hard deadline
  2. Start small: cut down large projects into tiny chunks to take it one at a time
  3. Find a helping hand: relegate some work to others if possible
  4. Avoid distractions: minimize interruptions during work
  5. Work on time: start and leave work on time

Workaholics must realize that office hours are for work, and proper rest must be taken during non-office hours. We rest not because we feel tired, but to go even further.

Family and friends can be our greatest ally

To help break out of this vicious cycle of work, I’ve begun to increase the time I spend with my family and friends. Their help getting me away from work has led me to do things that are crucial to

Their help getting me away from work has led me to do things that are crucial to break free from the cycle. My family is now the constant reminder that life is more than just work. There are more things to be achieved outside of work which can put our minds at ease.  And these can be way more satisfying than completing another work assignment!

So, what will be the first thing you do to escape from your workaholic cycle?