5 Keys to Managing Your Workaholism

Hi my name is Chrystal…and I’m a workaholic.

Hiiiiii Chrystallllll.

Work is my playground. I love it. I curse the Earth for making the rotation in 24 hours rather than dragging things out and letting me have days that last twice as long. (I feel giddy even just thinking about having 48-hour days.) Essentially, I’m passionate about what I do, I live for it, eat/sleep/breathe it and because of that, I pile tasks onto my plate like a fat kid at an all you can eat bacon and ice cream buffet.

If you’re a workaholic (such an ugly word) you know that it’s not a choice, you just are. It comes as natural as breathing and before you know it, that first cup of coffee becomes a glass of wine long after your sig other has gone to bed.

So, how do you essentially turn it off or even just down in order to have somewhat of a life?

Well, as crazy as I am and as much as I love work, work, work I’m going to share a few tricks that have helped me to tame the beast inside a bit.

1. Do Not Disturb

If you have an iPhone (I believe Android has an app for this) there’s this amazing little feature that won’t allow calls, texts or notifications of any sort through. I used to pop up like a Pop-Tart every time my phone made the slightest buzz. Now from 10pm-8am that thing is dead silent.

The hardest part is to refrain from peeking at it but the longer you use it the easier it gets.

But: What if someone calls me and it’s an emergency??
Excuse Killer: You can add anyone that you consider to be important to your favorites and set it so they can get through. Also, if someone calls twice within 3 minutes the call will come through regardless.

2. Set a Date with Yourself – – and Don’t Break it.

My workouts are non-negotiable. I make sure I put them on my calendar before I start scheduling meetings for that week and I refuse to break the appointment. I saw this quote the other day when I considered skipping a workout to catch up on some work:

“Think of your workouts as important meetings you’ve scheduled with yourself. Bosses don’t cancel.

Think about that. Would you cancel a super important meeting with a client that is going to give you business? No! So why would you cancel something else that is going to benefit you?

It doesn’t have to be working out if that’s not your thing (though I highly recommend it considering it’s an amazing stress killer and endorphin releaser.) It could be reading a pleasure book for an hour a couple of times a week, sitting outside in the sun, meditating—anything as long as it’s for you and you alone. Schedule it and don’t break it.

But: What if I’m out of town or that’s the ONLY time my client/boss/mother can meet?
Excuse Killer: When this happens, I reschedule with myself. I don’t make exceptions often but if I truly can’t fit it into my regularly scheduled program, I do what I can to fit it in another slot. And then I do it.

3. Meals are a “Work Free Zone.”

Yes, you’re a phenomenal multi-tasker and it’s oh so tempting to eat your lunch at your desk. Seriously, just stop. Pick up the sandwich and step away from your laptop.

Mealtimes are something I try to separate from my work. Even if it’s just a quick bite, I walk away from my desk and find somewhere else to perch. A lot of the times for dinner I will take the time to actually cook something and then sit down at the kitchen table to enjoy it.

Yes, I said enjoy it.

When you eat while working it’s easy to forget you’re eating. You might absentmindedly eat too much or worse you might get so absorbed in your work you forget to eat and end up scarfing down something unhealthy later on. To prevent the latter, set a reminder alarm to stop and eat so this won’t happen.

You don’t need to take an entire hour but take a few moments to remove yourself from work and focus on eating. Even if it’s literally for just a few minutes.

But: Sometimes I just have to work through my lunch! I don’t have a choice!
Excuse Killer: Last time I checked it was illegal for an employer to not allow you to take a lunch anyway, so no one will castrate you (haha) if you take 10 minutes to savor a sandwich. Besides you’ll return to work rejuvenated and refocused.

4. Get Out.

It’s no secret your social life takes a hit when you’re absorbed in your work but human interaction is crucial to not going totally insane. I’m not telling you to hit the club and fist-pump the night away, but if you only go straight to work and back or only see the inside walls of your own home– it’s going to wear on you. The key to balancing juggling your social life and work life is to start small and find things that fit in with your lifestyle.

Try joining something like Meetup.com and find local groups in your area that do things you’re interested in. If you have a dog it’s a great excuse and take her to the dog park or snag coffee with someone after a workout.

But: I don’t have time to socialize besides, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.
Excuse Killer: A bonus of Meetup is you can sneak in some work with social interaction by finding networking events to attend. What’s better than sipping on some wine, snacking on some canape and chatting about business?

5. Make Time for Love

Having a live-in boyfriend really puts a strain on my productivity. I mean, he wants me to actually stop working and spend time with him! Having a partner and being a workaholic can really be a guilt inducing test of your allegiance to one or the other. Or wanting a boyfriend and not having the time to meet one can be a real downer.

If You’re Coupled Up:

Date night is a great solution. Set your phone aside and give your sig other your undivided attention. Make dinner together, go out to eat, whatever– just spend a few hours in your relationship and outside your job.

If you work from home try and acknowledge him a bit more. If he asks you a question, says hi, bye or tries to kiss you, grant him the courtesy of giving eye contact. It’s so easy to mumble a response without looking up, but making this a habit will go a long way with him.

You can also squeeze in time with your squeeze by combining some of these other tips, like socializing together or stopping to eat that meal together.

If You’re Single:

Refer to tip #4 and get out! Keep your mind open when meeting new people and don’t rule out online dating. It’s a great way to cut through all the fluff.

Now Go Get Started!

You don’t have to go balls to the wall on day one, but if you start to integrate these tips slowly into your everyday life, that elusive word “balance” may start to creep in.

Do you consider yourself to be a workaholic? How do you reign it in? 

Image Credit: Shutterstock


  1. Ashley Sapp

    21 August

    Love these, Chrystal! I’ve been doing better as of late to make time for myself, for utilizing the Do Not Disturb at night, and having ourselves a Date Night. It’s refreshing and helps in not becoming burned out. I once worked myself so much to where I wasn’t sleeping, amplifying my anxiety, and simply could not shut my mind off – and over time, I developed a slight fever and collapsed. I had exhausted myself to where my body had to tell me to slow down and rest. The tips you have here are perfect for preventing this from happening. I’m particularly bad about working through meals and for not getting out enough. I will have to master this! Thanks for writing, as it was quite relatable.

    • Chrystal Rose

      21 August

      Thanks for reading Ashley! I’m so glad I could be helpful. It’s something I struggle with myself so finding small ways to tone it down really helps 🙂

      Working yourself sick not only sucks because it sucks to be sick, but it also takes away from your productivity. You really do yourself such a massive disservice.

  2. Jo-Anne

    21 August

    If I don’t answer my phone everyone has a little panic attack wondering where is mum what is wrong why is mum not answering doesn’t matter if I am busy, driving or just having a bath it is like the world is going to collapse if I don’t answer my phone

  3. Jewels

    21 August

    I love these tips. I’d love to say that I adhere to all of them but I don’t. Meals are stil work time for me, my vacations are still work time for me. Hell, even sleep is work time for me…I dream in SEO. I do try my hardest to keep my phone away when I’m with friends, for whom I will ALWAYS make time. It isn’t easy since our business is “on” constantly, but it’s essential to unplug now and again.

  4. This piece is such a home run. Honestly. In a way, I’m put at peace knowing I’m not the only one out there like this, since I wrote that piece about workaholics a while back. But mostly, I’m just loving these pieces of advice… Life is in need of a serious intervention if you truly believe the world will end if you don’t put the work down while you eat or skip a night of work to nourish an actual relationship.

    This is what greatness is made of, baby: BALANCE! (And sanity.. I think) Oh.. and lot’s of coffee and a ton of organized to do lists to keep everything in order of priority, of course

  5. Rene

    23 August

    Great article! We don’t realize how much we need work-life balance until we don’t have it. This advice is great, and I always see an improvement on my day when I take time to eat lunch away from my office with a book. I need my quiet time!

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