Spotting an alcoholic or drug addict is so easy, but have you realized that you could be sitting right next to a workaholic and not notice him or her at all?
Sometimes, we don’t have to look far to discover that we ourselves are addicted to work—somehow the addiction snuck in while we were busy working.
Some people are surprised to hear that work could indeed be addicting. “Oh, there’s nothing like working too much,” or “Me? I am just working hard! Isn’t it the right thing?”
Does this sound familiar? If you find yourself repeatedly saying this, it’s one of the confirmatory signs that you are addicted to work.
Workaholic: Been there, done that
Well, if you are wondering what makes me write about workaholics with so much conviction, then hear this: I’ve been there, done that.
Yes, I used to be a confirmed workaholic, and was quite proud of it until a few days ago. But the good news is that I have come to regain my senses, and am already working my way back to getting my life together. Believe me, it’s rather easier said than done.
It took me a lot of fortitude and resolution to steer clear of this menace. It seems I’ve come full circle—from being a round-the-clock running, overworked gal to being a composed and blissful smart worker.
How to Stop Being a Workaholic
By now, I am sure you are desperate to know how I got “un-addicted”. Let’s get started, shall we?
I was adamant and unrelenting when my family pestered me to work less and live more. Not my fault actually, I really could not see the point in their talk. “Hey, I am not getting high on alcohol and am not doing any drugs,” used to be my usual rebuttal.
It took a severe illness to drill some sense into me. I had been working non-stop for more than 17 hours a day and totally neglecting my health. There was a nagging pain in my abdomen, but fitting in an appointment with the doctor into my hectic schedule was totally unimaginable.
Finally one night, I collapsed over my work desk and the next thing I could remember was lying in the hospital bed. My investigation reports showed multiple kidney stones, fatty liver and hypertension.
Both my doctor and my family accused my work-addiction to be the cause for this problem. Finally, I accepted the fact and here I am writing this article to save others from falling into the same dark pit. It’s too dark and cold in there folks, so watch out!
If you want to fight something, the solution is not to fight it. Yes. I am serious.
First and foremost: Accept the fact that you are indeed addicted to your work and recognize the fact that it’s neither healthy nor normal.
As soon as I realized I was in a dark pit, I decided to evaluate my situation. Well, it definitely was the hardest part—something like drawing blood out of my veins. But I had to do it, and here’s what I did to get a better idea about the situation.
I used a pencil and paper. Yes, was my harness, along with me determination of course.
I jotted down all the pros and cons of working relentlessly. Simple technique, but quite effective in clearing the muddle in your mind.
Needless to say, my pros were just minuscule when compared to the cons. Yeah; I sure was losing out on my life, my family and my health. To put it in plain words, I was terrified of the mess I had placed myself in.
Getting over the evaluation phase was like getting over the most difficult part. I had already recognized my enemy and was looking him straight in the eye. I needed the strength to fight back not by resisting, but by allowing and accepting. I had to stay at it.
Contrary to what you think, this was genuinely the easiest part for me. I promised myself not to dump little me back into the dark hole again in my life. Each time I felt a little weak, I read through the list of pros and cons. It sure worked like magic on me. The cons’ list was quite long and terrifying.
There was no more time to waste. Now was the time to spring in to inspired action. Gradually, I started weaning myself off from the extra work. I made it a point to walk away from my desk as soon as it was 5 pm. Once I was home, the only “work” I did was to spend time talking to my family and enjoying every bit of it.
To be honest, this phase was pretty bumpy. Imagine the piled work that welcomed me each morning. The pile even seemed to grow an inch every day.
Yet, in no time, I was deducting 3-5 hours of work from my daily schedule, and that sure made a huge difference.
We all have only two hands and one brain each. Is it not dumb to expect two hands to do the work of 10? I possibly could not let my problem come in the way of my career, so instead of working hard I just decided to work smart.
Delegation was tough at first, because I strongly doubted if others could do the job well. But my doctor’s counsel of cutting back on stress and work was the only help I needed to get over this momentary phase of doubt. I started delegating the right tasks to the right people and discovered a new skill altogether.
Conclusion: Workaholic Pit
We all need to work hard and many a times we are forced to work beyond routine office timings. Working overtime once in a while is not going to make you a work-addict, but do not make it a habit.
I have succeeded in overpowering the work monster. I am learning new skills and developing abilities with each day. Oh, and the monster? It is now down in that dark pit, waiting for the next victim. I am sure that I will have nothing to do with it again.
How do you fight the addiction and stop being a workaholic?
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