How to Overcome Your Obsession with Working Hard in 5 Simple Steps

Whether we were in school or in a professional setting, our guardians and leaders have always taught us the same thing, if you want success in life, you gotta have to work hard for it. 

To some extent, the notion is true. But, it isn’t if you work hard so much that you feel exhausted. 

The modern society is fine-tuned to stay very dedicated to working. There is an air of workaholism just about everywhere and hard work has become more of a necessity than a concern for success-oriented individuals. But, do you know that Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla and Space X once tweeted: 

There are way easier places to work, Nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week” 

Even the great CEOs of the modern era have realized this fact that overworking usually leads to stress. People who tend to overwork often feel anxiety and burnout. They face other mental health issues such as borderline personality disorder and depression. And many don’t often realize until they fall victim to it. It’s just sad how people have taken a bite of the “hustle culture” which was forcefully fed to the audience by the New York Times once back in the days. Sadly, It justified stress and exhaustion. 

Work gives individuals a purpose but obsession with working hard often causes them a significant demise. In fact, many workers believe that if they don’t work the extra hours, they aren’t working hard enough and may never turn out to be successful. Moreover, there is a certain form of societal pressure where hardworking individuals believe that those who work smart are wasting precious time. Such norms create havoc in professional settings and people believe hard work is an obsession. 

How Should One Differ Working Hard Smartly from Obsession with Working Hard? 

You might fail to spot the difference between a hard-working individual who tends to work smart from one who is obsessed with working hard because externally, they both might look and feel the same. 

However, both of them, pursue a different goal and have different sources of motivation. 

The major difference between the two is that one aims to work hard in order to improve the quality of his life, while others simply work hard by sacrificing his life and precious time in order to progress forth. 

Smart people who tend to work hard often prioritize their goals by devising an intellectually sharp and effective working strategy, whereas those who just want to aimlessly spend every minute of their lives looking busy, often just work to fill the time gap in which they can achieve short goals and earn quick monetary benefits. Such short bursts of activities often lose the charm of achieving big goals clearly. 

Those who tend to work smartly often carve their own paths and in the process, evaluate their capabilities and individual skillset. They know that their skills will hone up as they will progress more. 

As Jayson Zabate once said, 

“I don’t believe in luck or in hard work without the so-called “work smart”. It’s not all about how you work hard but it’s about how you manage your time, resources, mind to work together for a better output.”

For workaholics, managing their own tasks can offer become cumbersome. Hence, they look towards other people to organize their tasks and schedules such as their managers, virtual assistants, etc. 

Subconsciously, workaholics unknowingly hands the steering wheels of their lives into the hands of others. They become dependent on others on how they choose to shape their lives and guide them. 

Not only does it negatively affects their quality of life, but they give others too much control over them. 

And without knowing, they usually end up in letting others make decisions on their behalf. If you want to become a success story, it is wise that you set your objectives yourself and work effectively instead of just working aimlessly in a specific direction. As Steve Jobs quoted in Steve Jobs: His Own Words and Wisdom.

“The Only Way to Do Great Work Is To Love What You Do”

How Do You Know You Are Working Too Much? 

Here’s the big question… how should a person identify that working hard is helping you achieve your goals or is it becoming a source of great stress and causing hindrance in your progress? 

If you want to check, try to observe a few signs which will eventually emerge. 

  • Your work makes you anxious.
  • You try to work as hard as you can because you’re afraid that you won’t achieve your goals.
  • You think about work even when you’re not working.
  • You work on holidays.
  • People say that you look like you’re not being present.
  • You answer work calls and check emails before and after your work hours.
  • You have a hard time delegating tasks to others.
  • You hate yourself for being unproductive and lazy.
  • You try to work harder to prove something.
  • You cannot enjoy activities and conversations that have nothing to do with your work.

If you’re displaying such symptoms, there’s a chance that you are struggling with work obsession.

How to Overcome Working Hard Obsession? 

We all want to fix that… and the best way of doing it is to stop working hard. There are a few simple habits that you need to change and before you know it, you will overcome this work obsession. 

Step # 1: Do Not Check Your Phone When You Wake Up

Habitually, we are so attuned to our smart devices so every morning when we wake up, we instantly take a glance at our smartphones. So instead of giving thought to our goals or planning out daily activities, we start checking our emails, messages, and notifications which builds up work anxiety.

We usually consider it as our normal routine and we sort of bring ourselves to speed! But, in all honesty, you can be a whole lot more productive if you spend this time to plan out your goals ahead.

Step # 2: Don’t Spend Time Sleeping Extra Hours

If your office doesn’t require you to be at the workstation at sharp 9 o clock in the morning, don’t prefer to sleep in or sleep late as it can become quite a problem for you. Waking up late can have some real detrimental effects on your health. You start your day lazy and bringing yourself up to speed can shave off a good amount of time from your clock. Plus, sleeping long hours creates a form of guilt in your heart and mind. But, on the other hand, if you do wake up early, there is a small chance you will even feel stressed. Focusing on your tasks becomes easy and you stay productive throughout the day. 

Step # 3: Negotiate Salary In Order to Build Your Ground

Many employees/freelancers often feel that salary negotiation can create conflicts but that’s certainly not the case. Without negotiating salary, employees usually settle for anything coming their way, may it be less or unsatisfactory. They work the extra hours in order to make ends meet and usually end up spending a good amount of time in completing tasks making themselves justify that overworking is the perfect solution. They need money, and to do so, they should spend all the precious time earning it. When they negotiate a salary, they work hard again but for less work and that’s a much better bet. 

As for the fact that whether salary negotiation is justified or not? Well, imagine yourself visiting to a nearby garage sale and find a pair of sneakers that you simply fell in love with. But looking at the condition, you think that the price being asked is not justified. What will be your take in that? Will you hit a bargain? It’s the same as hitting a bargain with your clients because you know you deserve it. So put aside your fears and go ahead, talk it out with your boss! What’s the worst? They will decline you. 


Step # 4: Try to be More Productive Rather than Just Be a Look-Busy

In order to be productive, the first thing you need to do is prioritize all the important tasks so you can pay attention to them individually. Some tasks are more important than others and can require more commitment. Plus, the profitable return on each of these tasks is also far greater than others on the list. So, when you prioritize these important tasks, you will eventually find yourself to be much more productive instead of wasting 10 hours of your hard work daily on accomplishing unnecessary tasks. 

One way of accomplishing such a feat is to create a daily, weekly or monthly work plan. 

This organization of tasks will eventually help you to push your query forward and achieve greatness. 

Step # 5: Say Goodbye to Multi-Tasking and Look Forward to Progress

Do you know that when you switch from one particular task to another, you can experience a delay of as long as 25 minutes? Normally, business owners term it as an attention residue which indicates that every time you plan on shifting your attention from one particular task to another, your attention still remains stuck on the previous task. That’s not your issue, it is just how the human brain functions and you can’t help it. Hence, it emphasizes the fact that multi-tasking makes you feel as if you’re drained of energy and don’t have the will to work anymore. You should prioritize and plan tasks accordingly. 

Concluding Thoughts

So if you want to achieve success in life does the only way of doing so is by becoming a workaholic? Even if it is the only way, workaholism still affects your productivity and that too, very gravely. It can decrease the quality of your life, causes significant damage to your health, physically and mentally. If your agenda is to hone your skills and do better in life, my advice is that you set priorities and plan your life ahead. Go forward with organizing and setting up your priorities and accomplishing all tasks. 

This smart approach will help you save yourself from sacrificing your own life over aimless tasks. 

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