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5 Tips From A Workaholic Working From Home In Lockdown

Uncategorized Sep 28, 2021

I love what I do. For me, working long hours is normal as I’m doing what I enjoy.

The first time I was “accused” (in my eyes) of being a “workaholic” was by one of my bosses many years ago. At the time, I dismissed the idea. You see, the only reason I did the extra-long hours and went into the office on Saturdays, was because the boss refused to provide extra support staff. This was despite requests from both me and another manager that we needed more help to meet the required deadlines. Without extra staff to support us, the onus fell on us to do the hours to get the jobs done on time.

So, no, I thought. I’m not a workaholic.

When I ran my own business, I’d always go into the office on Saturday. My rationale. It was the only day when I could get “my” work done without interruptions from the team, client calls and meetings that consumed my weekdays.

Was I a workaholic then? No, I said to myself. It’s just that I need to do the extra hours to stay on top of reviewing work, working on the business, and planning the future.

In an article on the Forbes website, Amy Morin states:

Most researchers define a workaholic as a person who works excessively and compulsively and is unable to detach from work.” 1 

Hmm. Perhaps I need to rethink this whole concept.

Do I work excessively? Well, I guess 10-hour days on weekdays and a solid Saturday plus Sunday afternoon probably is excessive. So, I guess, that’s a yes.

Do I work compulsively?  Ok, so I looked up what compulsive means exactly and found this definition in the Cambridge English dictionary:

“Doing something a lot and unable to stop doing it”

Yikes, I guess that’s a yes, too.

Am I unable to detach from work? Reluctantly I must admit that I’ve hit the trifecta with that’s a yes as well.

That means I need to confess that I am indeed a workaholic. Argh.

Six years ago, I started working from home full-time. I haven’t had an office to go to, other than the office I have set up in a separate room at home.

Whilst I have set the time I start and finish each day and I do take a break at lunch time; this works well during the week. The trouble starts on the weekends. I’ve fallen into the habit of “catching up” on work on Saturdays and then invariably I meander my way downstairs to my office on Sundays as well.

I made the announcement to my husband on Friday night this week that I was going to take this Sunday off completely. I wasn’t going to go to the office at all.

And then whilst having a sleep in and half awake, I thought about writing this article. Then I thought about a few other things that I could do and so here I am in my office again on Sunday afternoon.

This pattern of behaviour was bad enough in a no-lockdown world when I would do my best to find some reason to go out somewhere over the weekend, to the shops to buy Ugg boots to keep my feet warm in my cold office in the winter or to buy a new pillow or any other excuse. With lockdown, there’s nowhere to go. Except the office.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love to read, I enjoy cross stitching, baking cakes and a myriad of other things that don’t involve work. But in true workaholic style, they get pushed back and down the priority list of what needs to be done each day.

So now we’ve determined that I’m a workaholic and that I work from home. I’m also, like so many of my compatriots in lockdown with very limited reasons to leave my home.

A perfect time to do even more work and be an even better example of a workaholic.

Now that I’m prepared to embrace the fact that I’m a workaholic and live with that, the best tips I can offer my workaholic colleagues who are working from home in lockdown are:

  1. Acknowledge that you are a workaholic and are prepared to live as one.
  2. Make sure you use the time you’re allowed outside to exercise.
  3. Set start and finish times to your days and stick to them unless you’re under a deadline and need to finish something. But don’t let that excuse be used too often.
  4. Take at least a one-hour lunch break and leave your office for that entire time.
  5. Phone a friend at least once a week, preferably more. I do this when I’m out walking. Some days I phone a friend or family member, other days I enjoy listening to music as I get my daily exercise. (See I’m not that bad…)
  6. And as a bonus, make a commitment to do something you enjoy that isn’t work on one day on the weekend. Even if it is for one hour. (Ok, so I don’t do this yet, but I keep planning to…)

Alternatively, whilst admitting you’re a workaholic you can decide you want to change your ways. Start by reducing your hours of work each week and prioritise one outside interest to do for a few hours on the weekend. For example, you could stop work 30 minutes earlier three times a week to get started. Allocate time on the weekend to sit quietly and read a book or just sit quietly doing nothing (but not thinking about work) or do something creative.

Whatever your choices are, and it is a choice we make to be a workaholic. Remember to always put a smile on your face and think positively about what you’re doing and about the future.

Remember Newton’s Third Law “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. For all the negativity in our world, be part of the positivity in the world.


1 https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/09/18/7-signs-you-may-be-a-workaholic/?sh=78d4ce9270d7 

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