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How to Stop Being a Workaholic

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

It is dangerous to be a workaholic. Although you may finish a lot of work, you may endanger your marriage, ruin your relationships with your children, get burnt out, and end up in an early grave. If you want time to live a more enjoyable, meaningful life, the following steps will point the way..


  1. Change your values so that work is no longer the most important thing in your life. Unless you are truly convinced in your heart that there are some other things more valuable than work, it is unlikely the other steps will be effective. You won't be able to say “No” to overtime unless you are sincerely saying “Yes” to something you truly desire. Ask yourself if you value any of the following enough to give them higher priority than your work:
    • Your family. Is your work so important that you would rather risk a divorce and wreck your relationship with your children rather than cut back on your work?
    • Your health. Are you willing to get a stress-related disease and possibly die before retirement because your work is so important?
    • Enjoyment and peace of mind. Workaholics often claim they work so much because they enjoy their work. But if you focus on only one type of enjoyment, you are likely to miss out on the happiness and peace of mind that come with a more balanced lifestyle, with time to nurture meaningful relationships and savor simple pleasures.
    • Pleasing God. Some people work very hard because they feel God has called them to this work and it is of eternal significance. If that describes you, meditate on these words from the Bible: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” This suggests that if you are working too hard, it is not because that is what God wants for you. Rather you are probably doing it because of the expectations of other people or your own desires.
    • Money. What's the point of having so much wealth if you don't have time to enjoy it? If you are doing it for the sake of those you love, remember that the gift of time is worth more than the gift of money.
    • Once you have a firm determination to tackle your work addiction, the following steps can help:

  2. Evaluate the impact of the various types of work you do. Cut back on work which gives relatively little benefit for the time invested. For any item of work you take on, ask yourself: “How many people will get a significant benefit from this? How many people are eagerly waiting for me to finish this?” If the answer is, “Hardly anyone” think twice or three times about whether you should really do it, or continue with it.
  3. Limit the number of work assignments you accept. Finish one item of work before starting another one. Don't feel that you have to finish every item of work that you have started. Just because you've already wasted a lot of time on a piece of work, it doesn't mean you have to waste more. Don't throw good time after bad.

  4. Limit the amount of time you spend working. Set aside one day of the week, such as Sunday, as a day of rest. Be strict with yourself in not working on that day. If the computer is your main work tool, try not to use the computer at all on your rest day. Set office hours for yourself, outside of which you don't allow yourself to work. For example, no work before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
  5. Be flexible about when you aim to finish a piece of work. If other people set deadlines for you, so be it. But try not to set deadlines for yourself. Don't do today what you can reasonably put off until tomorrow.
  6. When appropriate, limit the quality of work you aim to achieve. Don't always aim for super high quality work when it isn't necessary to achieve the purpose of the work. As Chesterton said, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” Especially if that frees up time to do something else even more worthwhile. See How to Control Perfectionism.
  7. Be efficient in the work you do. If you can be highly productive in a relatively short time, you can use your achievement to calm your workaholic conscience and allow yourself to relax outside your set work time. If you stop being a workaholic, it doesn't mean you can't work hard, work efficiently, and aim for excellent quality. But you set sensible limits on your work so that it doesn't eat up the rest of your life. See How to Work Smart, Not Hard.
  8. Meditate on this: How many people say on their deathbed, “I wish I'd spent more time in the office.” Make it a habit to periodically ask yourself, throughout the day, "If I died in my sleep tonight, would I be happy with the way I spent my day?" As somber as it may sound, looking at your life from the perspective of your deathbed can jolt your priorities into place.


In this video you'll learn a few insights on how to overcome "Workaholic" tendencies.


  • If you wake up too early in the morning, don't get up and do something useful. Just lie quietly resting on your bed. After an hour, you may go back to sleep again. If not, you have still allowed your body to get needed rest.
  • Pay serious attention to your spouse/partner/parent/child/close friend when they urge you not to work so hard.
  • Train yourself to respond positively to interruptions. If the purpose of work is to benefit other people, then each time someone comes and interrupts, you can regard it as a golden opportunity to fulfill that purpose there and then.


  • Beware of time management gurus. Although they give helpful advice about working efficiently, their techniques often encourage the tendency to cram in as much useful work into a day as possible. Whereas as a recovering workaholic, your aim is to reduce your work, not increase it.

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Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Stop Being a Workaholic. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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