“The Western workplace culture – exported to many other parts of the world – is practically fueled by stress, sleep deprivation, and burnout. This is profoundly – and negatively – affecting our creativity, our productivity, and our decision-making: the very things entrepreneurs need in order to succeed. Your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard, but also unplugging, recharging and renewing yourself.” -Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.
The American work ethic value runs very deep.
Americans are more likely to work nights, weekends, and more hours than people in other wealthy countries.
Most of us would love more time off to do things we value, like spending time with family, traveling, or continuing our education.
Technology keeps us constantly plugged in, though, getting in the way.
Some of us have job insecurity that won’t allow for adequate work-life balance.
Others somehow manage to make it work by carving out time for their personal lives, working more efficiently, and knowing when to let things go.
Work-addiction experts agree there are detrimental long-term consequences to leading an unbalanced lifestyle.
How do you know if you’re a workaholic? Ask yourself these questions:
+ Do you work longer hours than your colleagues? Workaholics are often the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. Often, extra hours do not equal productive hours. Time off and self-care enable us to be more productive in fewer hours.
+ Can you turn off work thoughts? A true workaholic is unable to stop thinking about being back in the office. Whereas a healthy worker may be in the office dreaming about being at the beach, a workaholic may be on the beach dreaming about being back in the office. Work worries trigger the body’s stress response, whereas pleasant daydreams activate the parasympathetic nervous system and trigger our “rest and digest” response. The more you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system and disarm your body’s stress response, the more calm and relaxed you will be about doing a good job at work.
+ Do you often feel unwell? Mental health experts who treat work addicts see the same physical ailments in many of their patients: headaches and migraines, weight gain or loss because of poor diets, gastrointestinal problems, increased tiredness and irritability, sometimes even heavier alcohol consumption to relieve stress. Exercise is often abandoned by workaholics and their sleep schedule is thrown off. Some turn to junk food, eat quickly at their desks or in their cars, or skip meals altogether.
If any of this sounds familiar, then you may be a workaholic.
Not to worry! There is hope:
+ Unplug. Technology has improved our lives in many ways. On the other hand, it’s created an expectation of constant accessibility. The workday never seems to end! Phone notifications interrupt your time off and insert an underlying level of stress into our lives. The answer is to unplug and make quality time truly QUALITY time. Don’t send e-mails when you’re hanging out with your family or send work e-mails from your child’s recital. You will eventually become more resilient by not reacting to work updates when you are away from the office. Resilient people feel like they have more control over their lives.
+ Give up on being perfect. Overachievers tend to be perfectionists from a young age. It’s easier when time demands were limited to school, perhaps sports or other hobbies, and part-time after school jobs. But life gets more complicated as responsibilities evolve. It becomes impossible to be perfect, and that can be destructive for a perfectionist. Experts say the healthier habit is to let go of perfectionism and strive for excellence, instead.
+ Take care of yourself. Exercise is a very effective stress reducer, yet when our lives become hectic it is often one of the first things to go. Feel-good endorphins pumping through your body improve mood and can even put you in a meditative state. Experts recommend dedicating a few periods each week to self-care, whether that means exercising or meditating. It could be as simple as deep breathing exercises during your commute or finding a healthier stress-relief strategy to replace drinking. They key is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. By regularly calming everything down, over time you’ll start to notice a reduction in your body’s stress response and an increase in your body’s rest and digest response.
Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. aims to take the stress out of accounting and give our clients more peace of mind.