Workaholism. It often starts with a small taste but when left unchecked it can snowball into a full-on addiction. Like many addictions, it leaves people tired, irritable and alienating their family. In moderation, work won’t damage your health but doing it to excess can be potentially harmful. If you or someone you love, show signs of being a workaholic, it's time for an intervention.
Fortunately, there is a cure for workaholism commonly referred to as a ‘holiday’. Expanding on a previous treatment known as the ‘weekend’, holidays are an escape from the temptations of work. However, no matter where you go, smartphones, tablets and laptops are so readily available that a relapse into work when on holiday is all too common.
So, to beat your addiction, here are six tips to help you step back and actually take a break from the work and enjoy your holiday.
1. Plan your final week
Before you leave for warmer climes, plan out your final week of work. Arrange everything you need to do before you go, and then ensure a swift handover of what’s left to your colleagues.
2. Don’t go cold turkey
It’s okay to wean yourself off work. You can check your emails, but don’t answer them. Only respond if there is an urgent issue that demands your attention. To remove temptation, tell your colleagues not to get in touch unless absolutely necessary. It keeps you work-free and it empowers them to take responsibility. People shouldn't enable workaholics in this way.
3. Reduce access to technology
If you don’t think you can resist working, cut off your supply by reducing your access to technology. It's hard to focus on recovery when you're still tethered to the office.
4. Relax or engage
There are a few different approaches to taking a holiday. Some find serene, meditative trances are most effective, usually poolside with some kind of coconut drink. At the other end of the spectrum there's those who like to engage in holiday activities. Whichever you choose, the point is that a holiday is your time, so do with it what you will to avoid a relapse.
5. Avoid feelings of guilt
There is no guilt in enjoying yourself. You work hard – too hard, in fact. That’s how you became a workaholic in the first place. You’ve earned this holiday so take some time to invest in yourself rather than your work. Everyone needs a day off and there’s no shame in that.
6. Don’t overthink your holiday
Don’t turn your holiday into another project. You are there to switch off. You are not there come up with a plan of 15-minute intervals in which you record the fun had in that time and whether it was on budget or not. Chill out, have another mimosa and lose track of the time.
Workaholics be warned
By following these six steps and taking the prescribed ‘holiday’ regularly you should notice a reduction in your dependency on work. Enjoying that rare bout of time off becomes much easier, which is perfect because before you know it you'll be back in the office. And when you are, try not to relapse into bad habits and instead remember what you've learned on holiday.