Boundaries for workaholics

Having too much of something soon becomes a bad thing. Blessings become curses. More becomes less. The same is true for your work ethic. It is good to have ambition. But what to do when too much ambition leads to you becoming a workaholic?

Turn it off.

If you are so driven and passionate about your work, it might be hard to turn off ‘work mode’. But you need to turn it off. No matter if you are an employee or entrepreneur, you need frequent time to recharge.

This is even more true in today’s hectic, digital world. We are connected no matter where we are. This means workaholics need to be able to set boundaries. Boundaries that will help them protect them from their selves. What to do when “working only during certain hours” or “checking e-mail only while working” are no longer enough?

These powerful tips can help you set clear boundaries.

1.      Achieve a sense of flow through hobbies

Flow is that sense of accomplishment and engagement. You are really pulled in and can’t let go. In a good way. You will find this sense of flow in activities with a clear objective and that you find challenging. What kind of hobby could you choose that gives you a sense of flow?

You might pick a sport, art or game. These activities can draw your attention away from work. These kind of active activities are better than their passive counterparts, like watching television. Which won’t really get you into a flow.

Engaging hobbies can fill the void that you would have otherwise filled with work.

2.      Use personal goals

You probably have some goals related to your professional life. But what about goals for your personal life?

Working towards a goal is a sure way to be engaged and to experience excitement. This tip builds upon the first tip. Goal-oriented activities are more likely to pull you in. They will help create that flow and engagement.

3.      Meet friends and other people for non-work related activities

You might schedule a meet-up at the gym to work out with a friend. You might arrange a meeting with a friend and have some drinks. Or plan a hiking trips with your buddies. If you plan solo activities you are more likely to neglect these plans and go working instead. When you commit to someone else it becomes harder to break your promise.

4.      Technology is your friend

Think about setting up different accounts for different activities. Separate personal and professional accounts. When you have access to your work tools when you are doing something personal, the pull off getting back to work is too great. When you want to check your personal e-mail, and you see a work e-mail coming in, the pull is too great. Separate the personal from the professional.

5.      Yes or no? Decide in advance.

Each of us can leverage the 80/20 rule to achieve the best results. The 80/20 rule states that roughly 20% of our input (effort, energy) leads to 80% of output (results). This means that you spent 80% of your time on useless activities. It is highly likely that these activities don’t add up to your happiness or fulfillment. Decide in advance what activities are not worth your time. This makes saying no that much easier. Make a rule in advance of when to say “no”. This works better than deciding case-by-case what you are going to do with it.

Changing the self-defeating habits of a workaholic

Changing your habits as a workaholic is not easy. It’s hard and it will take time and lots of effort. But it will definitely be worth it. Deep down you don’t want to be working. You are filling a void with work. Find out what this void is. What is it that you want to be doing? What do you want to achieve in this life?

If you know your principles and values, you can discover what you value most. Your principles can help guide you through your life, without work having to fill a void that should not exist.

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