Workaholics — either you know one, or you are one. If the latter's your case, take a few minutes to reconsider your priorities. True, your career is important, but so are your friends, family, and personal desires and goals. Think of it this way: you've only got one (very short) life and spending the bulk of your time at your job means missing out on some of the best memories. Below are 10 tips for the one who works too much (trust us — it can be remedied!).
1. Admit it.
It's easy to justify staying at work till 8 p.m. every day ("My boss asks me to — I don't have a choice!"), but get in the habit of recognizing when (or if) it's a problem.
"Most people deny the fact that they have an issue, so the first step is realizing you have been working too much and that you need to make a conscious effort to slow down," said millennial career expert Jill Jacinto.
2. Talk to a therapist.
Sorting out your frustrations, stress, thoughts, and feelings with a professional will bring you closer to work-life balance, little by little.
"I highly recommend doing some mindset work with a coach or therapist about what's driving you to work when you don't need to," said Ashley Stahl, a career and business coach for millennials. "Too many people subconsciously tie their self-worth to their work, and this sort of mindset work can be supportive in seeing their own worthiness beyond their professional output." If you've never seen a therapist, don't be afraid to start! Even the strongest of us could use extra help sometimes.
3. Restrict your working hours.
There's a load of reasons working 11 or 12-hour days is bad for you, but suffice it to say, cutting down your shifts to a normal or slightly above normal average is in your greatest interest.
"Stop being the first person to get to work and the last one to leave," said career coach and bestselling author Julie Jansen. "One of these is OK if it aligns with your natural body clock. Not both!"
4. Get a hobby.
Seriously — figure out something to do when you get home, so you're not just working, eating, and sleeping.
"Find an outside interest," Jansen said. "Cycling, art, gardening . . . whatever! Find other people who enjoy the same passion and hang out with them."
Jacinto echoes the significance of a home-life hobby — specifically, exercising.
"Get moving," Jacinto said. "Most workaholics don't make time for anything, and the first item that usually loses its place from the to-do list is exercising. Not many people look forward to lifting weights or using the elliptical, but getting your blood flowing is exactly what you need to do in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Instead of dinner with a client, why not invite them to a Spin class? Or wake up 20 minutes earlier to take a quick run around the park." It's true: 20 extra minutes is all it takes!
5. Turn it off.
Thinking about work during a weekend trip with your SO or family? One word: don't.
"If you are home with your family, on vacation, or at an event, be present," Jacinto said. "Don't let your mind or fingers wander back to the office or your phone. Make a point to let go and enjoy where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with."
6. Don't stretch yourself too thin while you're on the job.
Yes, it's entirely possible to overwork while you're at work.
"Stop overbooking meetings and conference calls," Jansen said. Simple enough.
7. Take your lunch break . . . every day.
You deserve breakfast, dinner, and lunch. Preserve a half hour for pasta salad from the deli next door — and stay away from email during that time slot.
"If you've ever uttered the phrase, 'I don't have time for lunch at the office,' you have a problem," Jacinto said. "Eating proper meals stimulates your mind and energizes you. Your work will start to slack if you don't sustain yourself. Realize grabbing a sandwich and leaving your desk for 15 minutes will not negatively affect your work performance — in fact, it will give you the energy to conquer your next project."
8. Limit your perfectionism.
Your output should be awesome — but flawless 24/7? Not feasible. You're human.
"Work on your perfectionistic tendencies," Jansen said. "It takes too long to be perfect, and no one cares."
9. Stick to your personal calendar.
You're set for a dinner date on Wednesday night with an old friend from college, but you're thinking of rescheduling because of your hectic week. Refrain! At the most, push it back a half hour.
"Avoid canceling social plans because of work," Jansen said. Nobody likes a flake.
10. Learn to say no.
It's tough to do, but figuring out how to say no is one of the most powerful skills you can master.
"Stop saying yes to your boss, your colleagues, and everyone else at work," Jansen said. "In other words, stop being the person who can do everything." Because, let's face it — you can't.
"Say no," Jacinto reiterated. "There are times in our careers where we want to say yes to everything, and there are times we feel the need to say yes to everything. Realize that saying no is an option and may sometimes be a better choice. Set boundaries for yourself." Understanding your work limitations is essential in discovering the changes needed to practice a balanced lifestyle.