A Practical Guide for Being a Healthy Workaholic

Alyssa Gregory
Alyssa Gregory

workaholicThe term “workaholic” has a negative connotation because it implies compulsive behavior and addiction to work, but I think it’s one of those words that can go either way. You can be a workaholic who loses all perspective and focuses only on work to the detriment of all other aspects of your life. Or, you can be a workaholic who turns your drive and dedication into a healthy devotion to your business.

No matter how much you love what you do, it’s pretty safe to say that you probably prefer to fall into the second category. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. The trick is figuring out what separates the two extremes and taking specific actions to maintain a balanced work life, becoming more of a committed professional than an obsessed worker.

Are You a Workaholic?

First, let’s figure out if you can be considered a workaholic by considering these questions:

  • Do you frequently work long hours, including weekends and holidays?
  • Have you sacrificed aspects of your personal life for your business?
  • Do you hesitate to take long vacations and when you do find that you’re tethered to your BlackBerry?
  • Do you think about work when you’re not in front of your computer?
  • Do you often miss out on personal events because of work (and then feel guilty because of it)?

If you answered yes to even one of the questions above, you’re probably at least a borderline workaholic. But even if you tend to fall into the tunnel-vision-workaholic category at times, the good news is that you can change that. All it takes is a change in perspective and a shuffling of priorities.

Being a Workholic vs. Being Driven

The negativity around the word “workaholic” is often inaccurately used to describe someone who simply loves the work that they do and prefers work to many other activities. There’s nothing wrong with being dedicated to your work and enjoying it immensely. Some of us simply have an internal drive that causes us to work frequently, work hard and be willing to make sacrifices to reach our goals. This can be good; this frequently results in success and achievement.

Problems arise, however, when you lose perspective by becoming so work-oriented that you let your drive dictate your entire life, have trouble taking necessary breaks, and your dedication begins to morph into over-attention.

How to Achieve a Workaholic’s Balance

It can be argued that a true work-life balance is not achievable, especially when it comes to a workaholic. But if you apply the focus and dedication you have for your work to your desire for equilibrium in all aspects of your life, you may be surprised how easy it is to develop a well-rounded lifestyle that centers on your happiness and the happiness of those around you.

Here’s how to start:

  • Write down your motivations – Why do you work so hard? What does your work do for you on a personal level? How does your work make you feel at the end of the day? What does success mean to you?
  • Honestly analyze your motivations – Is your work compensating for other areas in your life that are lacking? Are you comfortable with your motivations as they are? Do your motivations support your goals?
  • Describe your perfect balance – What would a typical day look like? How would your current work schedule change? What are your priorities?
  • Make a list of what you can do now – What immediate changes can you make in your life to get you closer to your perfect balance? What has to change in order to be true to your priorities?
  • Plan for the future – What are some longer-term changes you can work on implementing in your life? How will you remind yourself on a daily basis what your priorities are?

Just like everything else in life, moderation is vital when it comes to work. But there’s no reason why you can’t be a happy, healthy, and functioning “workaholic.”

Do you consider yourself a workaholic? What do you do to maintain a balance?

Image credit: bizior