One of the biggest challenges that I hear from men is that they have trouble “shutting” work off. Instead of spending more time enjoying their life, they are constantly thinking about work and hindering their enjoyment. We’ve become accustomed to being “on” 24/7. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not the norm. The most successful men I coach are not “on” all the time. They choose to spend their time and attention on what they want versus what they think they have to. Studies show that working 70 hours per week is NOT any more productive than working 55 hours per week. The tough truth is that you’re choosing to be a workaholic, not being forced to.
Signs That You’re A Workaholic
Do you have trouble shutting off work? Do you find yourself spending time with your family only to have your thoughts drift back to the “stuff” you have to finish at work? Has someone close to told you that you need to work less and enjoy life more? Is work one of the first things you think about when you wake up in the morning on weekends? These are all signs off being a workaholic.
There’s nothing wrong with having a strong work ethic but if it’s costing you quality time with your family, then it’s time to rethink your approach. A workaholic is a workaholic by choice, very rarely by demand. You tell yourself that you must get the work done “now” but is that really the case? The truth is that your brain has been conditioned to constantly think about work. The reason why I know is because I’ve been there myself. I was constantly finding myself not being present with my family and always thinking about work. After getting completely frustrated with myself, I used my expertise in neuroscience and high-performance psychology to come up with a 4-step strategy that’s worked for me and countless other men.
1. Finish Your Last Task
One of the amazing things about your brain is that is determined to solve problems and finish tasks. Have you had that moment when you couldn’t remember someone’s name and you kept thinking about it because it frustrated you? You knew the person’s name but you just couldn’t recall it. A few hours later it just popped up like magic in your mind and you felt instantly relieved. The reason why this happens is because your brain doesn’t like unfinished tasks and will keep trying to process it until it is finished. So what you need to do at the end of the work day or when you want to shut work off is to finish your last task. Even if you have to create a mini fake task, you must check it off and tell your brain that you’re done. That way your brain feels like it’s done its job and is put to rest.
2. Create a Ritual
Your brain is accustomed to rituals and we all have them. Typically, your day is pretty standard. You do your morning routine and get ready for work which tells your brain that you’re getting into work mode. Well the same applies for after work. Create a distinct ritual that tells your brain that you’re done with work and you’re going into personal life mode. Some guys choose a song they play, others do a mini dance. I even know men who tell their computer to “fuck off” and give it the middle finger. Whatever the ritual is, it must be powerful enough to transition you out of workaholic mode and into a new state. The whole point is to convince your brain that you’re done and that you are moving on to the next phase of your day.
3. Create a New Goal
Your brain is a goal driven organ. In fact, it has many areas programmed for goal attainment (e.g. amygdala, TPJ, and RAS). Your brain loves goals and is highly attuned to achieve them. So the question is: what goals do you have outside of work? When you’re with your family, do you have a goal? When you’re spending time on your own, do you have a goal? The challenge is that most men don’t have goals for their family or outside of work so the only goal your brain has is the goal related to work. That’s why your brain keeps going back there and why it’s so easy to be a workaholic. Simply create goals outside of work. Create goals for your family. Create goals for your spare time. Create goals for your friends. This will get your brain to think less about work and more about other things in your life.
4. Shift Your Identity
Your identity is simple how you perceive yourself and how you behave to be consistent with that perception. At work, you perceive yourself to the “business owner” or “boss” or whatever title you carry. Outside of work, you must have a different identity or identities. It’s healthy to have numerous identities. I have multiple myself. With my kids, I’m Disney Dad. With my with wife I’m a Loving Husband or other identities that wouldn’t be appropriate for this article. You get the point. Having other identities appropriate for the current situation is important. If your identity is being a workaholic, you’re brain will continue to think that you’re a workaholic and behave that way. But if you consciously and intentionally create a new identity, you’re brain will be forced to act and behave consistently to the new identity. Try it, it works. And it’s a lot of fun!
There you go, you have a 4-step method to get yourself out of being a workaholic and enjoy your life more. The key is to remain consistent with this. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
All the best!
P.S. To know about how you can perform at your highest in all aspects of your life, get your FREE copy of my NEW book “The Complete Man”
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