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How to Break Your Addiction to Work

An Unbalanced Life

We live in a culture where work demands our complete allegiance. At the same time, it can be extremely enriching. You feel challenged by your work, you're attached to it, you're learning new things.

But, it is harmful to live an unbalanced life with too much focus on work and never truly being 'off'. It is detrimental to your relationships, your health, and your productivity.

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How to Break Your Addiction to Work

How to Break Your Addiction to Work

https://hbr.org/2016/05/how-to-break-your-addiction-to-work

hbr.org

8

Key Ideas

An Unbalanced Life

We live in a culture where work demands our complete allegiance. At the same time, it can be extremely enriching. You feel challenged by your work, you're attached to it, you're learning new things.

But, it is harmful to live an unbalanced life with too much focus on work and never truly being 'off'. It is detrimental to your relationships, your health, and your productivity.

Redefine Success

Reconsider how you define success. Workaholics are always aiming to get ahead. But you also need to draw a boundary line that shows respect for your family life, and your physical and spiritual well-being.

Refocus Your Attention

After you have redefined success, consider how you want to invest your time and energy. 

There will always be more work to be done, but make a choice to spend your time elsewhere: with family, friends, or in your community. And when you spend time with your family or friends, do so with undivided attention.

Reset Expectations

When trying to break an addiction, enlist the help of family, friends or colleagues for accountability and support.

Reset the expectations of your boss and coworkers. Be clear about the changes you are making and the reason for the change. 

Digital Detox

For digital detoxing, experiment with different solutions.

  • Put your smartphone away. Put your smartphone out of reach after the workday is done.
  • Don't use your phone as a time-filler. It can be a tough habit to break but it will help you to live in the moment.
  • Model better manners at the office. Tapping away on your phone while someone else is talking is disrespectful.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is practicing nonjudgmental awareness in the present moment.

Mindfulness can be helpful for trying to break addiction to work. It helps you to get a sense of control and be deliberate about your choices.

Prioritizing Health

You can work productively in a creative way for only a certain number of hours per day. Even then, you need proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise for more energy and better focus.

Also consider your family, friends, coworkers, and clients, who count on you and your good health.

Principles To Remember

Do:

  • Redefine personal success to be more about high-quality relationships, community engagement, and physical and spiritual wellness.
  • Be intentional about how you choose to spend your time and with whom you spend it.
  • Try mindfulness.

Don’t:

  • Go it alone — enlist the help of colleagues, family, and friends.
  • Automatically reach for your phone.
  • Be sparing on exercise, sleep, and wholesome food.

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Find friends outside of work

If your only friends are your friends at work, it'll be more challenging to avoid work on evenings and weekends. If you do have coworkers as close friends, consider setting some boundaries around work talk.

Try to avoid getting drawn into office drama, as it will increase the time you spend talking and thinking about work.

Speak up

Speak up when your workload is too much. Tell your boss if you are stretched too thin or when you regularly work too many hours. Talk about what you can reasonably get done in a week.

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WFH (Work From Home) eventually means you are working from coffee shops, parking lots, from your car while driving, and almost anywhere you can log in to your laptop or communicate on your phone.

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Start Early and Mimic Office Time

The schedule that makes you start early, and mimic the office hours works best, as you end up being free earlier too. However, night owls may find working at night to be more productive or comfortable for them.

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