Sometimes we’re so passionate about our work or getting work done that we become borderline obsessed. I know I do. I can go weeks without taking a break and ultimately neglect healthy hobbies and mind invigorating activities.
Here are five tips for the work obsessed to stay in control:
1. Choose very involving hobbies that require you to zone in.
TV is a very passive activity. It isn’t a hobby that is really engaging. Think of putting a puzzle together or reading. Those require your attention and overtake it from work completely. Riding a bike and running are fun hobbies, but they don’t take stop your mind from wandering off. Think flow. Activities that flow with some sort of skills involved.
2. Set goals in your personal life just like you do in your professional life.
Working towards goals is the best way to get yourself out of work mode. Personal goals are like the perfect cure for work obsession because they are very addictive. Having a goal and seeing the fruit of your labor through small accomplishments here and there is a wonderful experience and it pushes you to go forward even more.
A word of warning here. Plan and schedule your personal life just like you would to your professional life. Have a planner book or a phone app for that. You’ll find it very rewarding. Organization is my crack these days.
3. Schedule dates with other people for non-work activities.
I like to go fishing or eat out with friends. I have a workout partner and I’m involved with boxing, so I always have people I can turn to for escape. Find a community for the hobbies you’re into. Most hobbies have online communities and message boards. Some of them even host events and meet ups. A simple workout buddy will do, however.
4. Use tech boundaries to separate your work and your life.
Try to separate your work and personal communication. Have a different email for your personal life. If you use the same email for personal and business, one might distract the other. For example. If you’re planning to go out with friends and you get an email from work, you might be tempted to check it. That might lead to a distracted conversation about something work related with a coworker.
Similarly, you might find yourself distracted from getting back to work by answering emails from friends about snowboarding
5. Set up your boundaries in advanced
Tell yourself what your work limits are and write them down somewhere you can see everyday. This will help you work around those limits and boundaries. Some work related things are just not worth it. Use the 80/20 principle to tell yourself which work related activities are just wasting your time and which are actually the most important.
Play smart and avoid overload! Remember, as Bruce Lee once said: “Hack away at the unessential”