Last week we talked about how to know if you are a workaholic. If you took our test then you probably have some concerns. And like many other situations in life if you are thinking that you might have a problem, then you probably do. So what can you do about being a workaholic? The obvious answer is to work less but if it was as easy as that you would have already done it. Wouldn’t you? The first step after admitting that you have a problem is to tell someone else and then ask for help.
This help can range from the very informal like talking to a trusted family member or friend, to the very formal of joining a self-help group like Workaholics Anonymous. Yes, there is a twelve step program for workaholics. There are many other options in between.
If you feel comfortable you should start with the persons closest to you at work and open up a discussion with your supervisor or manager about how you are feeling around work and that you want to find a way to slow down. They might have some suggestions to make and they might also suggest that you talk to HR or someone in the Employee Assistance Program if you have one at work. These programs are always confidential and can provide a great outlet to just talk things over.
If you are not comfortable raising this issue at your workplace there are lots of other ways to deal with your situation. You can research the Internet or visit your local library to get suggestions and information sources. Workaholics are often so busy that they don’t have time to read so perhaps this is the first break that you make with your workaholism. Read a book. It may not matter which book it is but maybe find one that helps you slow down and learn to take it a little easier.
You may or may not want to involve a professional coach or mentor in this process but you will definitely need a friend. Use one that you can absolutely trust and ask them to help you. They will likely already know that you have a problem and be happy to help. Use them as your accountability measure and tell them all about your plans to slow down at work and break your old habits. Then put your plan into place.
Start your plan slowly, maybe by making a commitment not to work every weekend and you can always add to your plan as you go along. Tell your boss that you will not be able to work any more than a fixed number of hours, any amount less than what you already do would be an improvement. Call your family and make plans to get together since they likely haven’t seen you for a while. Finally take a deep breath and try to relax. You can do this.
When you think about working more remember the quote by Agatha Christie who turned to writing mysteries because…..“I didn’t want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.”
Mike Martin is the author of “Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People”. For more information please visit
He is also the author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series set on the rugged east coast of Canada. The latest book in the series, Beneath the Surface, was released in May, 2014
Here is the link to last week’s blog and the Workaholic Test: