Is it ironic that it is Labor Day in the United States and I’m writing about how to stop being a workaholic?
Even though Labor Day has been an official holiday in the United States since Congress implemented it in 1894 to end a labor dispute, this is the first Labor Day I’ve really used it as a day off from laboring.
I’m a workaholic. Well, I was until recently. Now I’m a recovering workaholic.
My workaholic mentality stems from much more than just having strong work ethic. Instead, it stems from the following:
1. Believing the more I work the more successful I can be
2. Not wanting to disappoint clients and bosses
3. Believing the more I work the more I am the “provider” my family needs
4. Loving what I do
While each of these beliefs has added to my workaholic mentality, the biggest factor was that working was my top priority.
How to stop being a workaholic
Just like any other addiction, our minds have to want to stop before any treatment will work. Once we truly want to cease the destructive behavior, the actual cessation is quite simple.
So the question is this, “How do you get to the point that you truly want to stop being a workaholic?”
It’s all about priorities. Addictions become the biggest priorities in our lives. To stop being addicted, we need to change those priorities.
To stop being a workaholic, we need to change our priorities from working to something else.
In certain times of your life, it may be okay to be a workaholic. If you are unmarried and want to focus on your career, go ahead. Be a workaholic. Don’t forget about your health though.
In other times of your life, being a workaholic will be detrimental to your health, relationships and spirituality.
You need to identify what should really be your priority. If you’re married, your spouse should be your priority. If you have children, they need to be more of a priority than work. You see where I’m going.
What really matters to you?
Is it work or family? Is it work or your friends? Only you can answer that.
I had to answer that earlier this year and family was my priority. Unfortunately, I hadn’t acted like it was. My wife and kids needed me but I was always working.
I love what I do in my career so I always resorted to working. If there was something to be done, I went to the office to do it. I worked almost every Saturday throughout the year.
It was silly. Why did I need to work that much? I didn’t.
My agreement to stop being a workaholic
Once I finally realized I hadn’t been treating my family as the priority in my life, I changed my habits. I changed cold turkey.
No more would I work every Saturday. No more would I work late every evening.
No, no, no…
I made an agreement with my wife, but more importantly with myself, that I would get the same amount of work done but in a shorter time.
How could I do that? I’d be more effective when I was working. So far, so good.
I now work one Saturday morning a month and am home by 6 every day, unless I have an evening event. I’m even limited these events to a minimum so I can still be home.
More importantly than being home though is what I do when I’m home.
I’ve played more games of Crazy 8’s or Candyland in the past few months than I can remember. When I’m home, I’m home.
I don’t even bring my work computer home with me anymore if I’ll be in the office the next day. I also turn off the email app on my phone so I don’t just check email all evening.
Are you a workaholic?
If you are a workaholic, are you willing to change? Can you identify what should be a bigger priority than working?
If I can help you, please contact me. I’m here to help you.
Once you stop working so much, you’ll be able to work more effectively and efficiently. You’ll still get your required work done and enjoy your life more.
Trust me, you’re other priorities will thank you for it!