Work/Life Balance Tips for Workaholics

Are you struggling to balance your work and personal life? Nearly half of working Americans (48%) consider themselves workaholics. Working from home further blurs the line between work and family, making it difficult to be productive in either setting. These work/life balance tips for workaholics can help you make the most of your time.

Create a Dedicated Office Space at Home That You Can Close off

If you’re working from home, you need a space strictly for work. This does not have to be a one-purpose room. It could be an unused closet with a desk or a corner of your dining room with a partition.

The goal is to establish a workspace that separates you from your personal life. Choose an area that you can close off, even if it’s with a simple curtain. When you finish work, close the office and re-enter your personal zone. The boundary between spaces is crucial for the strategies below to be effective.

Designate a Cutoff Time for Work (and Do Not Deviate from It!)

Make a block schedule for your days that includes designated work and family time. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll say your work block is from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM with a one-hour lunch break at noon. Start wrapping up your work around 4:30 PM so you can finish promptly at 5 o’clock. That’s it – you’re finished working for the day.

Not every profession allows for these firm boundaries, but there are plenty that do. Break the habit of checking work emails at dinner or taking phone calls on days off. Those are the times to focus on your family, friends, and, most importantly, yourself. You cannot immerse yourself in your personal life if work is always in the back of your mind.

Learn How to Set Boundaries in All Areas of Your Life

“No” is a simple but powerful world. Workaholics tend to lose this term in their vocabulary. It’s time to re-insert it in yours. When your supervisor asks you to stay late to complete a project, explain that you will resume work in your next scheduled hours. When your extended family asks you to host a holiday, think carefully before agreeing.

You do not have to be everything for everyone. If you feel compelled to do so, you may value yourself based on how helpful you are to others. That’s a topic for another time, but the key takeaway here is that you need to say “no” more often than you currently do.

Delegate Work Tasks When Possible

Delegation can help you say “no” without fear of burdening others. You should be able to take a vacation or miss a workday without the entire operation crashing down.

Put systems in place to lighten your workload. If you are not able to do that, talk to your supervisor about it. Take some weight off your shoulders, so you have less to carry when you get home. You’ll find it easier to shift into your personal life when your work stress is under control.

Do NOT Start Your Day with Work Messages

Are work messages part of your morning routine? Now is the time to change that. We mentioned the importance of block schedules above. Your morning should be dedicated to family and clearing your mind for the day. You could check those messages on the subway to work or on the walk to the office, but leave them out of your early morning schedule.

Incorporate Reset Days into Your Schedule

Reset days are just as important as work or family days. These are days dedicated to doing nothing. That’s right, nothing! Don’t plan to clean the house, grocery shop, file your taxes, meal prep, grade papers, or anything else. Instead, allow yourself plenty of time to rest, relax, and reset.

Reset days do not come naturally to workaholics. You may need to force yourself to veg out and read a book the first time around. When you wake up the following day, you’ll realize just how refreshing that small break was. Plan for reset days as often as your schedule allows.

Take Advantage of Paid Time off, Including Mental Health Days

Do not feel bad for taking paid time off, including sick days, vacation time, and mental health days. This is time you can dedicate to yourself and your personal life. In a five-day workweek, 71% of your days are consumed by work. You will naturally feel an imbalance in your work and personal lives as a result. Use your time off to reset the scales in your favor.

Identify Why You’re a Workaholic and Address Traits at the Root

It’s entirely possible that you have a strenuous job with no downtime. It’s also entirely possible that you have created an environment that fueled your addiction to work. Being a workaholic isn’t a healthy trait for most people. The only way to resolve this tendency is to figure out what’s causing it.

Do you work extra hours to avoid your home life? Do you like being at work because you feel alone at home? Do you like feeling indispensable at work because someone abandoned you in the past? Are you trying to make up for your parent’s poor work ethic?

There are countless reasons people turn into workaholics. You may want to discuss your reasons with a trusted friend or therapist. Once you determine the source of your behavior, you can look for ways to reverse it.

Listen When Your Loved Ones Express Concern

Don’t brush it off when someone says you’re working too much. They may have noticed a change in your demeanor or an increase in stress. Your loved ones see you from a different perspective than you see yourself. Trust that they’re speaking from a place of love, not criticism or misunderstanding.

Follow Our 25-Week Mental Health Reboot

Establishing a work/life balance is part of a much broader mental health journey. Setting boundaries, finding time for yourself, learning what brings you true joy – all of that takes time. CNLD Testing & Therapy created a “boot camp” of sorts to guide people through this process.

25 Weeks to Better Mental Health Awareness provides a foundation of tools you can use for the rest of your life. This is the perfect way to kickstart your adventure. If you need support along the way, we can match you with a judgment-free counselor for assistance. We offer teletherapy and in-person therapy appointments through our Ann Arbor MI therapist office. Contact us for more information.