It’s time to face the situation and to find out what you can do in order to break the dangerous cycles.
Here are 5 main ways I used to break the work addiction and stop the burnout that you can use too.
- Redefine what your heart desire — and no, it’s not just about work. You can choose to spend more time with your family and friends, to start a new hobby or take time off (go on vacation in a place where you have never been before and try to stay away from work as long as you can).
- Ask your friends and colleagues to keep you accountable — for example, when a new project/ task comes in one minute before your working program ends, you will need some support to avoid giving in. For example, you can set an alarm (it can be a couple of minutes before the end of the program so you can start preparing yourself), ask a loved one / a friends to call you at a certain time, make commitments for weekends and evenings (cinema, theatre or even an exhibition or a meal).
- Do a digital detox — turn off notifications on your phone, bury your email and social media apps within your phone and set rules about not checking emails or respond to messages from your business partners outside the working hours. If you are like me, you might even have to leave the phone at work, and use a personal phone for time outside work!
- Try mindfulness (involves acceptance, meaning that you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging them) –do daily exercises, join a mindfulness class or listen to guided meditation practices.
- Reward yourself for not giving in to work — you can go to a restaurant or a theater or even book a city break.
- Do a 7-Day Time Detox starting NEXT WEEK, to Tune Out Distractions, Fight Rush, Gain Clarity And Focus. Start by decided what toxins you want to remove, and go from there. Below are some detox ideas:
Phone Addiction Detox: Turn off notifications on your phone and shut it down between 6pm-8am next day and in weekends. Or leave the business phone at work, and replace it with a basic phone call for personal calls.
Email Addiction Detox: Remove email from your phone to prevent checking it outside work hours. I also challenge you to add the next line in the email signature to show yourself and to let your connections know about how strict you are with your time: [Note: I am drowning in emails. If you are expecting my prompt answer, please type ASAP in the email’s subject line. Or else, expect an answer between 8–24 hours.]
Toxic Persons Detox: make a list with the toxic persons at work and in personal life, and DO NOT INTERACT with them during the Detox.
- Make a plan you will want to achieve for the next 3 years
Think about the people you want to meet;
The places you want to see;
The experiences and emotions you want to sign up for.
- Set boundaries — learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do.
- Nourish your creative side — creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project or resume a favorite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work.
- Plan it naked, and make it — keep your plans simple, and aligned with what you are. Avoid adopting complicated recipes from other people. If those worked for them, that’s their business. YOU BUILD YOUR OWN SIMPLE PLANS.
- Get plenty of sleep — sleep makes you smarter, better-looking and more creative. Feeling tired can exacerbate burnout by causing you to think irrationally.
- Don’t rush into too many changes at once. Do one small change at a time to prevent overwhelm.
- Don’t get extreme with a change, unless you know you can handle it.
- Don’t beat yourself up — it will be hard, and you will often fall of the wagon. Smile and get back on track. You are not done until you’ve succeeded with your task.
- Don’t expect to see changes from the first day. Take your time. Arm yourself with patience and perseverance. Real changes will be seen after weeks and sometimes, after months of constant work.
- Don’t get too rigid about it. Be creative. Make any challenge fun and friendly.
- Don’t be a loner. Find a friend to run these challenges together.
Break the vicious chain:
Create a new hobby — SOMETHING THAT YOU REALLY LOVE — and go from there; I know it sounds easy… but, trust me, it’s not! If you are like me, you’ll find that creating a new hobby is a bit challenging to start with.
Take 10 minutes a day, to invest in that new hobby;
Every 1–2 months, get better at doing that hobby — learn more about it, practice it more, test new ideas related to that hobby;
If it feels like a drag, keep doing it. If you fall of the wagon, that is all right. Allow yourself to do that. And next day jump right back and keep enjoying that hobby.
Here’s my story:
“First time I experienced burnout I quit my job. The second time I was forced to quit a project I was addicted to. Both experiences, though different, helped me realize how important my time and my mind is. Using the 5 ways displayed above, I have overcome the fear of failure or overwhelming that usually happens after a big change like breaking up the pattern to burnout and work addiction. It did not happen overnight. After each of the 2 experiences, I needed around 10–12 months to fully recover and be more careful with my time and the way I spend it.”
What mix of emotions (good and bad) will you experience during the breakup process?
- Loneliness (since most of the people around you are trapped in their own fast lane to overwhelm)
- Moments of despair or uncertainty regarding your decisions (questions like “Did I do the right thing?)
- Pain (the body was used to work all the time so it will ask you to go back to work even at 10 pm)
- Fear of failing or fear of losing work since you no longer work excessively
- Fear of missing something important because you cut out the social media
- Peaceful time (while reading a book, for example)
- Moments of freedom
How will you feel after?
- Deeply clarified on what you have to do next (both personal and professional).
- More focused on your plans.
- Cleanliness (in your mind and life).
- Grateful for every small thing you have and do (and you appreciate life for different reasons).
- More productive.
Before you start getting involved in your new hobby, answer these questions:
What the new hobby is and why is it appealing to you?
Are you ready to spend as low as 10 minute a day to enjoy that new hobby?
Do you have friends that you can share the hobby with?
Once you have the answers, challenge yourself to set up a goal for this hobby, like, for example: “read 250 books by the end of the year” etc. and make that commitment public on our closed Facebook page.