In one of my previous blogs, I talked all about how to know if you're a workaholic and how it's hurting you. (If you want to know if you are a workaholic and how much of a workaholic you are, I suggest you take this free quiz: How Much of A Workaholic Are You)
Now, I'm going to dive deeper.
Do you feel a little bit of burnout coming on? Are you wanting to work less and enjoy life more? In this blog and the next one, I’ll go through the five ways to stop being a workaholic. In each of those five, I’ll also share three practical steps to help you work less.
Then, from those 15, I encourage you to choose 2 or 3 that you will implement in the coming weeks.
The 5 ways to stop being a workaholic:
First: Limit the hours in the week for productive work.
You may be busy, but not productive. From Monday to Friday, how many hours do you really want to work? If you work on weekends, how many hours will you work then? Then block some time to relax and recharge. You need to stop overscheduling yourself.
How to stop over-scheduling yourself:
Choose how many hours you will work each week and then how many hours each day. Once you decide you need to stick to not just, “These are the hours I'm working.” But also, “These are the hours I'm not working.” Block it in your calendar. That's important.
2. Put in time in your calendar for other activities.
There are 10 areas of life - fun and recreation, family, friends, spirituality, career, finances, physical environment, significant other/romance, health, personal development/education. Often, our schedule is filled only with work-related tasks and things we strive for in our careers.
Personal development oftentimes can be bumped out as well because we're focused on our professional life. We’re reading, taking courses and listening to podcasts for our careers, but it isn't the personal development area.
Look at your calendar and see if there are other areas of your life on it. Think of the fun things that you want to do. Go for lunch with friends, see an exhibit, take painting lessons. Add in time for other areas of life. If it’s not there now, book some.
3. Book things for yourself during the day.
You don’t just need to look to after work hours for your personal activities. Sometimes the workday is the best time to do things for yourself. For example, every Monday morning, I go to Pilates. This week, I have a counseling appointment and acupuncture scheduled. You might be questioning, “Well then when are you working Diane?” I have other things happening like evening events or I look things over like editing this blog. I take the time to do these personal things during the day, or else I get to the end of the day and realize I don’t have enough time for them.
Booking them during the day means they won’t be postponed. Maybe you book a friend’s lunch, a doctor's appointment, read your favorite book, or go to the gym.
You’ll be able to stop overscheduling yourself in these other areas by doing these other things.
Second: Learning to say ‘No”
This might be hard for you. I've done some podcasts and blogs on saying “No”. You can check out the one I did on How You Can Say No to A Client You Don't Want To Work With.
How to learn to say “No”:
The key point is to be clear on what you want in all areas of life by going through the Wheel of Life. When you know what you want, it's easier to say “no” to the things that you don't want because you are saying “yes” to the things you do want.
(If you want a copy of the wheel of life, email me at email@example.com).
2. Say “yes” to the things you want so you can say “no” to the things you don’t.
You may know you want to play your piano more, spend more time with your kids or grow your faith. For example, if you know your health is a number one priority, and you want to be saying “yes” to your health, you decide, “I’ll go to the gym at 9 every morning” or “I’ll walk on my lunch every day.” So when someone says to you, “Hey, do you want to go do this?” or “Can you be in this meeting?” You will be able to say “no” if it conflicts with your yes”.
It’s because if it’s a strong “yes,” then it’s in your calendar and you would be more likely to stay committed to doing it.
3. You can share your “Yes” with others.
If people ask,
You could say, “Right now, I'm focusing on my health, and so I'd love to, but I just don't have time for it right now.”
I've had someone say to me, “Oh, I'm focusing on my family right now. My family needs more of me, and so I can't take on anything else.” I love that response. I replied, “Wow, okay, that's where your priorities are right now. That's amazing. Congrats to you!”
You don't have to give any reasons for why you are saying, “No”. ‘No” is an answer. But for many people, including myself, being able to share a stronger “yes” can give you confidence to say “no”. It can also help people understand you better and back off, as you may have experienced people asking you again and again.
Now you have 2 of the 5 ways to stop being a workaholic and the 6 ways to implement it.
Which will you put into play right now? Then the next blog will cover the other 3.
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