Advice Provided For Avoiding Career Burnout Due to Workaholism

Advice Provided For Avoiding Career Burnout Due to Workaholism

There's a story making the rounds about a kitchen designer/salesperson who was a workaholic. Seems his wife dragged him to a marriage counselor, who suggested that he leave the cord to his laptop PC in the office. That way he could only work at home after business hours until the battery wore out.

After a week, he went and bought a battery that lasted six hours.

Many people in the kitchen and bath industry are workaholics, especially those who are self-employed or who are entrepreneurs with their own businesses. Some work non-stop because they feel an urgent sense of responsibility to their family, employees, customers and suppliers. Some work non-stop because they genuinely enjoy their work. And some work non-stop because, in all honesty, their family and personal life has soured.

Work can become an addiction for a certain type of individual, who thrives on being needed, working like mad, and being in control of everything around him. The paradox is that workaholics often end up with just the opposite. They end up abandoning people for work, the quality of what they do suffers and the workload eventually seems overwhelming and unconquerable.

When that happens, you can suffer burnout. That two-week vacation you've been looking forward to ends up leaving you stir-crazed instead of relaxed. Any time you spend with family or on a hobby seems like time that's wasted.

What follows are some strategies to help you cope:

  • Plan. Too many entrepreneurs become workaholics because they carry their plans around in their head. The result is that unfinished tasks constantly whirl through their brains, and can eventually come to seem overwhelming.

    Write down each task and write out an action plan to solve it. Now you can see which parts you can delegate to others and what steps can be taken to solve the problems. Helpless, hopeless feelings will fade. Making a plan helps you take control of your problems.
  • Teach. Train a successor to yourself in your business. After all, what would happen to it if something happened to you? Developing a second-in-command relieves you of much of your minute-to-minute decision-making responsibilities, allows you to share the burden you feel you're lugging alone and gives you a sounding board for those decisions you do make.
  • Network. When you're a workaholic, you lack the contact with peers that's important to your mental health. Go to meetings of your local industry association, your local Chamber of Commerce, etc. Share your concerns and your problems. This can help you bring balance back to your life.
  • Take a break. Plan out a two-week vacation. Make sure it includes activities to challenge your mind. Learn a new skill or take up a new sport. And, don't check in with the office while you're away.
  • Schedule time with your family. Block out the time you want to spend with them and spend it with them. Your family is, after all, the main reason you're going through all this work in the first place. Don't they deserve the same attention you would give somebody else's kitchen remodeling project?
  • Renew your passion. Find something else besides your job to get equally worked up about. You might want to throw yourself into a community activity, join the fight to stop pollution or help homelessness. Only you know what you want to do.
    Getting involved in a new cause connects you to new people.