Overcome work addiction to live a happier life.


Did you know work addiction also know as workaholism, can lead to anxiety, depression and other addictions including drugs, alcohol and pornography? Yet we admire people for how hard they work. Why?


Work Addiction


As a society, we value a strong work ethic. People phrase others for working hard and in Corporate America, good work is often rewarded with more work. It’s no wonder people are prioritizing work over other aspects of life and why overcoming work addiction is so hard.


Compounding the problem of work addiction is identity and self objectification. If your identity is tied to what you do and how well you do it, you’re likely self objectifying yourself. If you condemn or belittle yourselves for not working hard enough, you’re probably setting yourself up for burnout, unhappiness and depression.


How to overcome work addiction


If you are suffering with work addiction and/or self objectification, you need to develop better balance by thinking of your life more holistically. How?


Five steps to overcome work addiction:


1/ Start by creating some space for yourself to think about what you would do with your time outside of work. Would you like to develop some hobbies, travel, hike, exercise, play a sport, visit friends and family? 


2/ Take time off on the weekends. Give yourself a full day to enjoy life and do the things that will make you feel more balanced and happy. 


3/ Spend time with people other than your colleagues and coworkers. People who see you as a person and who have no other need for you other than companionship.


4/ Reflect on what you want to see, do and experience during your lifetime. Some things have specific windows of opportunity and other things are more flexible. Prioritize the things with the specific window in your plan.


5/ Use a time log to keep your life in better balance. Track time spent at work vs. non-work activities, track your mood and prioritize time for walks, workouts, prayer and fun. The Achievable Plan | Daily Journal happens to be the perfect resource.


Getting work right


It’s important to get your work right because it’s one of the cornerstones of wellbeing. When work is purely extrinsically motivated, people are more likely to view it as onerous. The challenge is get the perfect balance of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic reward.


The solution according to Arthur C. Brooks, author of Build the Life you Want is earned success. The opportunity to continuously develop your skills to get better in your job and to use those skills to service others. Service to others can be done in all types of work and in both for profit companies and non profit organizations.


Choose the right career path for you


According to Arthur, there are four types of career paths that will enable very different experiences of work.


1/ Linear Path


The linear path is representative of the corporate ladder. You train to do one job, build your skills and advance up the corporate ladder.


2/ Steady State


The steady state path is for those who value job security and want or need time for other commitments outside of work. Steady state careers enable people to develop expertise in one job over the course of their career and to do that job their entire career. These jobs are less common now.


3/ Transitory Career 


The transitory career appears somewhat random but it enables people to do different things while satisfying their needs for location, schedule or lifestyle.


4/ Spiral Career


The spiral career is one that changes every decade. People who follow a spiral career path apply their skills to new jobs or start a business.


Additional Resources


The book Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown is another really good resource for identifying what’s standing in your way of a happier life. Start with the free assessment to gage where you are on your path to cultivating more joy and happiness. Your results are not stored or used.


Keep in mind, it’s not about scoring well but rather establishing a baseline so that you can continually improve your own life. Get more insights and resources on building a healthier and happier life, subscribe to Shannon Smith Living.

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