3 tips to avoid becoming a workaholic

When it comes to your career, you are committed and passionate. Your job is fulfilling. In many ways it has become a part of your identity. But is there a downside to your dedication?

Hard work, we are told, pays off – as any bona fide workaholic can attest, sometimes your job (and the need to do it anywhere, anytime) just sneaks up on you.

However, in a culture that tends to overvalue workaholism (often passing it off as routine devotion), those long hours can throw off work-life balance. In fact, too much work can be unhealthy, unproductive and unrewarding.

Keep your sanity with these three tips to avoid becoming a workaholic.

Time management

Time is one of your most important resources. We're paid for it, so it makes sense to spend it wisely. This might mean declining non-essential meetings or dedicating time in your calendar to accomplishing one task. With time, there's also opportunity cost to keep in mind; if you're spending it on a less urgent project, you can't spend it on one that could be more impactful. And while a quick procrastination break every now and then never hurt anyone, set end goals to keep your productivity in check.


Learning how to delegate is the yin to time management's yang. In other words, you will have more time if you know how to delegate tasks as appropriate. To start, know what requires your expertise and what doesn't. Perhaps a project manager is the better person to run a meeting or keep the assignment rolling. Understand your team's strengths and make good use of them. Finally, be honest about what you can take on. If you feel overwhelmed, be willing to say no or ask for help.

Clear boundaries

Business fluctuates, and there will be times when you have to stay late, work a Saturday or return an email in the wee hours. But don’t make this a habit. Remember why you're working in the first place: to support yourself or your family, and to feel fulfilled, empowered or professionally satisfied. If you don't want to find yourself in the "live to work" group, create clear boundaries. This may mean leaving by 6pm each evening, no matter what, or blocking time to work out during your lunch break. It may also mean not checking work email on your personal phone or at all on the weekends.

Ultimately, working can be enjoyable and provide a sense of pride – that’s why it's important to find work-life balance.

This post originally appeared as 3 tips to avoid becoming a workaholic on the Robert Half Creative Group blog.

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