top of page

10 Things to Do to Avoid Becoming a Workaholic

Do you find yourself always in work mode? Are you constantly battling work/home life? Are you often working from sun up to sun down?

Work addiction, often called workaholism, is an actual mental health condition where a person cannot stop worrying about work; this condition will usually occur from those who view themselves as perfectionists (Tyler, 2017). People who are experiencing work addiction will often feel the need to achieve status and success to escape emotional stress. To be classified as a “workaholic,” you should have strong obsessions or need for work that has become so excessive that it creates disturbance with your personal health, happiness, interpersonal relations, and social functioning (Tang, Lim, & Koh, 2018). A workaholic would often bring work home, vacation, or anywhere that it should not be.

How do being a workaholic affect our mental health?

We obsess over and over about work; we experience a lack of sleep, our eating habits decrease, we encounter a lack of awareness (willing to work any and everywhere), we don’t set boundaries or follow anyone else’s boundaries. When you are obsessed and continuously worrying about work, you create the space to become stressed out, anxious, and overwhelmed. Job burnout is an outcome directly related to being a workaholic. Job burnout is a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job and is defined by three dimensions of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and lack of personal accomplishment (Tang, Lim, & Koh, 2018).

Some signs of a workaholic would be: taking work home, lack of sleep, staying late at the office, continually checking emails at home, becoming obsessed with work-related success, paranoia as it pertains to your performance at work, intense fear of failing at work, detaching from personal relationships because you always have to work, using work as a way to avoid relationships, or using work to avoid issues going on in personal life (divorce, financial trouble, death, loneliness), using work to cope with feelings of guilt of depression (Tyler, 2017).

Here are 10 ways to avoid becoming or remaining a workaholic:

1. Be honest with yourself

The first step to making any change is to admit that you have a problem or there is a problem. When you recognize a problem, you can make plans and change it. Seeing is believing; look for the symptoms and see if this is you, then work out a plan to change the behavior or mindset.

2. Exercise Mindfulness

It is essential to be mindful as it pertains to your mental health. When you give yourself away from your work, you risk experiencing burnout, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and becoming overwhelmed. Check in with yourself daily on how you feel mentally by breathing exercises and ground yourself by noticing the things around you. Practicing mindfulness helps you slow down to listen to what your body is telling you.

3. Make sure you’re in the right job.

It may be easy to become a workaholic when you are not in the right job. Not every job will be a fit for you. Make sure that you are not overcompensating by overworking because you are in the wrong position.

4. Set boundaries

Boundaries are not a bad thing. They are set in place to help with protecting ourselves. Practice saying no. You do not need to always be available even after hours. Set time balance between professional and personal life. You can set boundaries by having a clear and concise schedule to follow. For example: if you work 9-5, no matter what is happening…you have to shut everything off at 5 pm unless an emergency has occurred. You also do not start work until 9 am.

5. Prioritize

Set an intention before starting your day. Make a to-do list with the most critical, important, and not so important. Start going down your list and accomplish the tasks you have set in place. Be mindful of not having more than five items on your to-do list. Prioritize your health, mental space, and personal life.