It’s all too easy to become a workaholic, isn’t it? After all, we’re passionate about our businesses, or striving for success in our corporate roles, or trying our hardest to climb the promotions ladder. So we keep on being last to leave the office and first in, we keep clearing those inboxes, finishing those projects, hustling new clients and overachieving on those sales targets. We keep attending those meetings which take up a whole day and then try to compensate and catch up by burning the midnight oil. Furthermore, none of us hardworking, motivated, driven personalities like to be seen to be slacking, do we? Admitting we’re tired, or we’re working too hard, or we’re ready for a holiday, is for wimps. And we’re made of much stronger stuff than that, and we’re not scared to prove it!

But all light-heartedness aside, what does working round the clock do to us? What happens to our body, mind and soul when we’re working 12 hour days, and weekends, to the detriment of ourselves and our families and friends? Recently I was away on holiday with my family and I was amazed by the number of individuals who were clearly having business calls by the pool!

Well, if we don’t have a handle on it, overworking can lead to all kinds of trouble.  From burn out and relationship breakdowns to mental health problems and exhaustion; the list is substantial if you want to delve into this topic. And if you’re unsure whether you are a fully-fledged workaholic, have a run through these questions: twenty-questions

Creating the right balance

So what can you do to create the right balance and keep your overworking tendencies under control?

First of all, you need to take regular breaks. One way of doing this is to schedule a week off in your diary every 6-8 weeks. Okay, I can see you rolling your eyes, but believe me, if you can take a regular week off, you and your business will most definitely reap some big benefits. Your concentration levels will improve, and your motivation and productivity will grow, too.

Secondly, you need to recognise the signs that you’re working too hard. If you’re starting to get more irritable than usual, working late every night, and you feel like you’re not even putting a dent in your to-do list, then this is usually a sign that you might be developing workaholic tendencies and need to take a break. You may feel tired all the time, make poor diet choices, forget the last time you did any exercise and/or you might suddenly realise that your social life has become nonexistent. So it really is time to take a breather.

Thirdly, watch out for your emotions. When you’re overworking you easily become very tired, and when you’re fuelling your body with rubbish foods and drinking more alcohol (or caffeine) than usual, you’re basically on an emotional rollercoaster.  Your tears will fall with ease, your temper will flare at the slightest criticism or disappointment and your stress/anxiety levels could be dangerously high and constantly simmering. So if you find yourself surprised by a sudden outburst (tears or tantrums), then you would do well to translate this into another symptom of your workaholic traits.

If you struggle to cut back on your work, for whatever reasons, then this is something you need to consider seriously.  There are lots of ways to try to dilute your desire to work so much, such as meditating, taking regular breaks during your working day, eating well and always at meal times, self-care, setting time boundaries, enjoying your R&R time completely (without only half being there and thinking about work) and indulging in one of your favourite activities or hobbies.

Wellbeing is crucial for everyone, but particularly, if you’re running a business or you work in a high-pressure environment. So if it seems to be becoming a serious issue, take action now, because once you’re heading for burnout or breakdown, the further down that tricky path you go, the more difficult it is (and the longer it takes) to bounce back.

If you’d like to chat more about how I can help and support you to become a healthy, enthusiastic entrepreneur or employee (who enjoys plenty of time out for play) then please get in touch. I’d love to help.

I’d love to help.

Suzanne