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7 Things Workaholics Should Do To Take A Break

7 Things Workaholics Should Do To Take A Break

Most workaholics dismiss taking a break as a waste of time. I know, because that was how I approached my work. Fortunately, after finishing up in hospital, I learned to change my ways and I was no longer a chronic workaholic. Here are 7 things I did. You should do these too if you really want to get out of the workaholic spiral. Get a life!

1. Don’t work long hours

Take a leaf out of Nick Francis’ book. He is the CEO of Help Scout and he and his staff close their laptops at 5.pm and they go off and have a life. The reason he does this is because he found that when they were working double the hours, the productivity did not match all that input at all. The results were dismal. His conviction is backed up by research too. Studies have found that working 60, 80 or even 90 hours a week resulted in a short burst of productivity initially but then faded away. Tiredness, distraction and poor decision making reared their ugly heads. The longer you work, the less productive you are. You can read the International Labour Organization study here.

2. Work smarter

Here is the way I coped with all the distractions and endless requests for the deadly ’10 minutes of your time’ syndrome.  Learn how to say NO to all those extra meetings and ad hoc requests which will rob you of your valuable prime time. Having a list of priorities for the day helps you to get these into perspective and they will usually be way down the list. Respond accordingly and work smarter. Remember that urgent phone calls and pressing deadlines are great ways to extricate yourself from these requests. You can even get an app on your phone which will send you a fake call, if your colleagues are really intruding too much.

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3. Take a real break, even a 10 minute one

An Italian friend of mine who is working in London as an architect has noticed that her colleagues are workaholics. In addition to talking only about work, they also tend to have lunch at their desks.

My advice is to get out of the office for lunch, if you can. The walk to the restaurant, the fresh air and the sunshine (if you are lucky!) will more than compensate for the time you have lost. If lunch outside takes too much time, opt for a ten minute walk outside just to get some air or have a coffee.

4.  Use an app to rest your eyes and joints

Workaholics also need to rest the parts of the body that get overworked while at the computer. No surprise that repetitive strain injury (RSI) has increased by over 30 per cent in the last year in the UK. This is costing a bomb in terms of lost revenue and productivity according to a Microsoft report. So, before your wrist and hand freezes up, use an app to make sure that you are resting the joints and your eyes at regular intervals.

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These apps can help to:

  • Dim your screen and tell you to do a few eye exercises.
  • Longer breaks will disable your screen for a set period.
  • Tailor your breaks as regards frequency and length. Decide on which sounds to alert you that a break is about to happen. They will also advise you on the ideal position of your monitor and so on.
  • Other apps will show you stretch demos so that you can give your limbs a well deserved break.

5. Lock your work up in the office

This is the hardest test of all. Most workaholics bring their work home and even check their messages in the bathroom! When you do go home, give yourself, your loved ones and the dog a break. Switch off your phone and try to become a normal person again. They will love you for it!

6. Change your mentality about breaks

The problem is that our society has a sneaking regard for workaholics because they think it is a sign of a great work ethic. Breaks and naps are regarded with distaste. It is time to change this outdated concept and you have to start with yourself. Go ahead companies are now providing nap facilities.

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7. Don’t become addicted

Nothing wrong with hard work. But when workaholism becomes all consuming, then it really is time to call a halt. Have you thought about your other life? Are you putting your relationships and your kids at risk, simply by not being there or through neglect?

Do you recognize the symptoms:

  • You are not frightened by more and more work
  • You think about work all the time
  • Work is the only thing you are passionate about
  • You find it impossible to take a break.

In the short term you may get promotion. In the long term, you will risk your health, happiness and relationships. Time to step back and discover the real meaning of being happy at work. You can start by taking a break!

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“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.” – Lao Tzu

Featured photo credit: Home office work station/Unsplash via pixabay.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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