National Workaholics Day: how to tackle your inner workaholic

National Workaholics Day: how to tackle your inner workaholic

Working hard and being motivated is admirable, but going overboard will only likely lead to career burnout or health problems

Annual Workaholics Day takes place on 5 July and is dedicated to those who are always coming in early, eating lunch at their desk, and staying late.

Workaholics feels like they need to be busy all the time, to always be working on something. This means that sometimes they even end up completing unnecessary tasks: they focus more on being busy than the end result of the project.

Workaholics also sometimes find it hard to delegate and say no. They struggle with organisational skills because they have too much to balance and they believe they can do everything on their own so avoid asking for help.

Being truly hard-working and motivated is an admirable trait, but it is important to find a balance between working hard and over-working, which will often lead to burnout.

For workaholics, it’s easy to keep saying they are fine handling their huge workload, but eventually the early starts and late nights will affect their health. Workaholics will often be sleep deprived and have no time for eating well or exercising. Their mental health will likely suffer because of a lack of relaxation and down time.

Accountancy is rightly labelled as a demanding profession. In the early stages of your career you will likely balance work with studying for accounting qualifications. Later, as your progress, your responsibilities will increase and there will be times when you feel you need to work a lot more hours a week than your contract states.

Doing occasional extra hours is ok. Work-life balance is not a binary concept which can always be maintained on the same level but if you get to the point where you are stressed and over-worked on a daily basis, you need to do something about it.

If you are a natural workaholic, there are ways to tackle these feelings of always needing to work.

1. Work more efficiently

Sometimes the reason people are constantly working is simply because they are not working efficiently. They are not time managing, they are getting distracted, or they are failing to use technology to their advantage.

A simple pen and paper can be your key to time management success. Write down a realistic to-do list at the start of the day and work on it in allotted hours. Prioritise the most important first, so if you get to the end of your working day, you can push incomplete items to the following working day. If you live on apps, there are digital to-do lists and time management ones like Trello which work equally well.

To work in the most efficient way, block out chunks of time in which you will only focus on completing the task. Remove any distractions like phones and social media, work for your allotted time, then you can return to your distractions.

2. Work out what you truly prioritise, and do more of it

One issue that workaholics have is prioritising work above everything else in their lives and believing this is what is expected of them.

Even if they love spending time with family and friends or they have a hobby they enjoy, these things will never come close to their work. It is a feeling that filling your CV is the only thing that will give you value or meaning in life.

One way for workaholics to begin getting over this feeling is by really thinking about what matters to them in life, and even writing it down if that helps. What memories do you look back on that made you happy, and do you do enough of that now? How can you do more of it again?

This is not to discourage successful careers and fulfilling work lives. Striving for a career that makes you happy and proud is fantastic, but there’s no need to forget other important aspects of your life in the process.

3. Learn to say no

Learning to say no when you need to is a difficult skill to master. Saying no can feel like a failure, even though it is absolutely not, and workplaces often fuel this feeling.

The best way to say no is to know how much work you can and cannot handle. Be organised with your time so you can either saying absolutely no to a task, or say you can get it done by a certain date. Explain to the person why you cannot take on this additional task and stand your ground.

4. Ask someone to hold you accountable

Like anyone set in their ways, learning to not be a workaholic will likely take time and a set of different habits.

To help you along the way, tell someone what you are trying to achieve and ask them to hold you accountable to this. For example, if you are aiming to stop working at 7pm every day, ask someone you live with to check you are sticking to this.

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