We live in a country that seems to celebrate a workaholic lifestyle. With our always connected world, there seems to be an unspoken rule that you must be available at all times. Below are some strategies to avoid becoming a workaholic or creating a more sustainable work-life balance if you feel you already have a workaholic life.
Studies have shown that a person’s productivity goes down significantly long before many people call it quits for the day. If you’re working a lot of hours, you are probably getting a lot less done per hour than many of your fellow employees.
Use these strategies to help rebalance your work-life schedule:
- Set a time boundary. It helps to put a limit on your workday, like going home at 6 pm. Or put a limit on a specific task, like one hour. Also, when you have a deadline, put up a sign for example that says, “On Deadline, Only Interrupt if Important.” Another tip is to prioritize your workload for the day so you can schedule them according to importance/timeliness.
- Disconnect from the Internet. Maybe you’re working all hours of the night because you’re wasting too much time online. While some tasks require an Internet connection, there aren’t many. When it’s time to work, work. Then when it’s time to have fun, enjoy it!
- Drop activities that waste your time. Examine your work environment and look for activities or people that are not the best use of your time and stop or minimize doing them.
- Spend time with your family and friends. Your family is a big part of the reason you’re working anyway; it doesn’t make sense to ignore them so you can spend more time working. Think about it. Your kids will be gone and out of the house before you know it.
- Focus on your health. A study published in the European Heart Journal found that, compared with people who did not work overtime, people who worked three or more hours longer than a normal eight-hour day had higher risk of heart-related problems, sleep deprivation, psychological distress, and type A behavior. Between the stresses, lack of sleep, and horrible food, a serious toll is taken on your body, health, and emotional well-being. Eating a healthy diet, exercise, getting enough sleep all help with focus and energy level.
- Find other people that have a great work-life balance. It’s usually easier to learn from someone else that’s already accomplished what we want to accomplish ourselves. Seek out friends, co-workers, and neighbors that have the lifestyle you’d like to have. Maybe they can offer some pointers and advice on how they maintain their work-life balance.
- Create an evening electronics routine. A lot of us when we arrive home still keep checking email on our phone. Setup boundaries when you arrive home you will not check your email until after dinner, or just one time an evening. Create boundaries that work for you and gives you much needed downtime plus time with the family.
Too much time at work over the long run negatively affects your relationship with your family and friends. Remember, no one says on their deathbed, “I wish I had spent more time at work.” In the long run, family is always a priority.
Avoid falling into the workaholic trap. Set a schedule and stick to it. Focus on your health. With some intention and experimentation, you can get your work done and still get home at a reasonable hour.
If you would like help creating a work-life balance that works for you, please reach out.