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5 Must-Dos for Workaholics

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5 Must-Dos for Workaholics

There are thousands of books on personal development: how to aim higher and fulfill your potential, how to succeed through hard work, how to never give up. The list goes on. But what happens when you fail to apply these rules to your life and you are only satisfied when you are busy? You are trapped in a 24/7 cycle of stressful work and struggle to get more from life.

Welcome to the new trend that has engulfed approximately 30% of the working population: workaholism! This phenomenon is described as the state of being addicted to work and your professional career.

Definitions given by psychologists, psychiatrists, or coaches in the field of work-addiction vary but all come to the same conclusion: it’s not just unbeneficial, but actually toxic. A recent study[1] estimating the prevalence of overworking, assumes that workaholism involves thinking about work, even during leisure time. There is no typical profile of the workaholic, but it seems to entail the same negative effects as any other addiction: sleep problems, weight gain, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

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How do high performance and workaholism relate?

Well, they don’t. Workaholism is not about passion—it’s not even about making money. The driving force behind workaholism is a permanent conflict with yourself and a feeling of guilt if you are not working. You are never satisfied. There is always one more little task to do, one more detail to check and that’s what makes high performance impossible to achieve. Feeling depressed and not being able to detach from work leads to your brain under-functioning overall.

In Japan, workaholism is associated to karoshi, a term introduced in 1995 which describes death or serious circulatory system diseases caused by overworking (more than 65h/week for 4 weeks). A study regarding countries with the most workaholics placed Japan in first place, Australia in second and South Africa in third. The U.S.A was ranked 5th. It seems the workaholism virus evolves fast; if you feel any workaholism tendencies in your daily routine, take a step back and attempt to reflect.

How to Transform Your Busyness Into Productivity

By following these simple steps, your work performance can be improved while simultaneously keeping workaholism at bay. Your main aim should be to reconnect to your true self, enabling you to succeed in both your personal and professional life.

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1. Face thyself.

This is the most important step to start with. Don’t mistake passion with addiction and don’t be afraid to analyse yourself objectively. Stop doubting yourself and your potential!

2. Set priorities.

Actions become habits. So set up and follow your priorities until they become second nature. Focus on your life values. Ask yourself what’s most important to you—family, health, peace of mind, money—and put it on a paper. Always keep that in mind and act accordingly.

3. Set healthy boundaries.

Saying yes can allow opportunities to arise, but sometimes saying no can lead to the right possibilities for you. Learn when to stop. Allow yourself to be flexible by converting your mindset from “only too much is enough” to “less is more.” Give work a break and embrace your need for human connection and physical activity.

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4. Take a day off.

It’s time to see “leave your comfort zone” from a different perspective—by emptying your mind. Most workaholics have difficulty enjoying free time as they feel guilty for not working. What they don’t know is that productivity comes only when energy is handled properly. Choose quality over quantity and manage your stress and time wisely.

5. Be open to others’ ideas.

The “Looking-glass self” theory states that our self-image is shaped by what we believe others think of us. Sometimes, what we believe others think of us does not match up with their actual impression of us. This discrepancy can lead you in the wrong direction. That’s why we have to allow others to analyze our actions and to accept the advice and feedback provided. Talk to your family and friends about your goals, about your actions, and about your habits. Their answers might surprise you as well as have great benefits for your personal development.

6. Consider asking for professional help.

Overworking is not a new topic among professional coaches. Some of them associate this term with typical entrepreneurial behaviour. Various coaches share success stories on how they supported others fight against work-addiction or even their own journey to find a healthy balance. Learning from someone with a high level of expertise and integrity might be one of the best things to do. It is essential to choose the guidance which is right for you. Make sure your coach is professionally certified and trustworthy; a great coach will monitor your progress and empower you to develop professionally as well as and personally.

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If you acknowledge that overworking has a negative impact on your career, take the matter seriously. Whether you consider asking for a professional coach’s help, or to follow the other aforementioned steps, start making a change. Make sure you’re on the right track to success by disowning unhealthy habits in your life. You’re in charge of your life!

Featured photo credit: Stokpic.com via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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