Hard work and disciplined habits are crucial to success. But have you crossed the line between hard work and gone over to the dark side?
Have you, or someone close to you diagnosed you as a workaholic? And by this, I mean are you increasingly incapable of disengaging from work if you are employed in the workforce or from your own business if you are a business owner or entrepreneur?
Are you habitually de-prioritizing relationships, exercise, sleep, and even vacations? Are you working so much that you are a stranger in your home? And did you know that unions involving workaholics are twice as likely to end in divorce according to a study by a researcher done at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte?
The reason for this is because you increasingly become emotionally and physically unavailable to your loved ones. Most researchers define a workaholic as a person who works excessively and compulsively and is unable to detach from work. Is this you?
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can commit to creating a designed relationship with your loved ones. What that means is you examine what is working now and what is clearly NOT working, and you clarify your vision, values and specific goals for your work life and your home life.
Here are the Four daily habits of recovering workaholics.
1. Family time is sacrosanct. No matter if it is you and a significant other, spouse and with or without children it is critical that you agree upon and consistently adhere to a designated “family time”. This is the time that no external distractions are allowed. You ignore a ringing phone or a knock at the door, unless of course you are expecting company.
Electronics are shut down and put away. The television is turned off. You are together as a family, and you are making conversation and eye contact. This is an opportunity for you to become a much more skilled listener. A more thoughtful speaker. Perhaps even a more reflective person. Dinner time is a good time for this!
2. Nutrition and Exercise. Recent research has found a link between workaholism and reduced physical and mental well-being. Commit to eating clean, high-quality food when possible and drinking plenty of water. A lot of people mistake thirst for hunger.
Sometimes you think you’re hungry but you’re thirsty. The key here is non-caloric fluids. Water, first and foremost, is going to be the best option. Unfortunately, on average Americans drink about 450 calories per day just from beverages, 450 calories just from beverages every single day.
3. Playtime. It is important to find a balance between focusing on work and focusing on YOU! Build playtime into your daily, weekly, monthly, annual calendar. It can as simple as a walk around the block with the dog or watching Saturday morning cartoons with your children. Whatever you build into your calendar, make sure it is as highly prioritized as work!
4. Sleep. One of the areas where workaholics tend to struggle is in restorative sleep. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine concluded that excessive work and sleep disorders have a direct correlation. Give yourself permission to rest. Sounds silly, doesn’t it?
As a recovering workaholic myself I have had to train myself to go to bed. And by that I mean, bedtime is now an event that I prepare for rather than me just falling over sideways and drooling. Remember when we were children and that countdown to bedtime? We had had an hour or so to prepare for bed. We had to take our bath, brush our teeth, wash behind our ears (remember that?).
Often times there was a bedtime story involved. An hour or so before you intend to go to bed, turn off everything. Turn off the iPhone, tablet, and television. Lower the lights in your home. Shut that office door if you work from home. Take a warm bath or shower, get into your favorite jammies and just relax. Once you are in bed, say your prayers if you are so inclined, and express your gratitude for your day’s blessings. Settle into your favorite sleep position and take 2-4 DEEP breaths. Breathe in as much air as you can and expel it slowly. You are now ready to sleep.
And always, practice gratitude.
Photo: Flickr/ Patrick Gensel