Workaholics may not have an actual diagnosis from psychiatrists, in part because symptoms and victims of “workaholism” are all so different. But experts say to consider yourself a true workaholic, as opposed to someone who just really enjoys working, your work habits need to jeopardize or at least hinder the rest of your life, relationships and health.
Are you a coder who dreams in HTML? A social media entrepreneur who tweets during sex? An accountant whose numbers get in the way of her family? Do you have no social life outside work? No time or desire for outside interests? Then you might be a workaholic. If you are, here are a few ways to restore your sanity.
1. To keep your mind healthy, keep your body healthy, too.
That means eating well, getting some fresh air and exercise, and getting a good night’s sleep. You’ll be sharper and happier overall, as well as more efficient, so you won’t have to take work home with you as often.
2. Take sick days when you need them.
Your brain can’t function at its best if you’re like my coworkers and come to work with bronchitis to share with me four times within as many months. If you’re sick, you’ll get better much faster and get much more work done once you go back to work if you just take a day or two to binge on NyQuil and NetFlix until you’re functional again.
3. Turn off your phone at night.
Seriously, you’re going to bed. Unless you’re a surgeon or cop, chances are any work “emergencies” can probably wait until the morning when you’re at your desk. Especially if you don’t get overtime pay!
4. Don’t have your work email sent to your personal cell phone.
If that means getting another phone for work to use only during work hours, do that. And hopefully on the company dime.
5. Learn to say “no.”
Have a lot on your plate? Or just enough? Then if Sue in the next cube needs help, she can get it from someone else. As long as you’re polite, you shouldn’t feel guilty.
6. Schedule time for things you actually enjoy—and stick to that schedule.
Whether it’s a coffee break with a colleague you like, brunch with your best friend on Saturdays, a solo bike ride, baking cookies with your nephew, do what you love doing, and leave your phone out of it. Focusing on stuff you love will make you cherish and thus nurture a work-life balance.
7. Keep a planner and a journal.
Use your planner to keep track of work and your personal commitments (see above), and use your journal to keep track of if and how much you let your work seep into your personal commitments. Sometimes it just takes seeing it in black and white to make you realize that yes, you are a workaholic.