Tip your scales in favour of a healthy work-life balance

A 24/7 working culture is very much ingrained in the habits of successful business owners. It seems to be the norm. However, living the life as a workaholic can lead to becoming a business addict, which can leave you in hot water. It can start out so innocently and quietly. You may decide to make a personal sacrifice in the short-term, in order to achieve business gain in the long-term. But what if the scales keep tipping towards the business gain and over time, gradually, you sacrifice more and more of yourself, your time, your life.

The time trap

Time is certainly the biggest commodity. Yet when it comes to spending time on ourselves or with our loved ones, we may fall into the ‘not enough time’ or ‘too busy’ trap. You know what you should be doing to look after yourself and the reward of spending time with your friends and family, but you find that you don’t do it; or it’s very hit and miss.

Instead you find yourself using your time to:

  • Work late to finish a task, as the to-do list is never ending
  • Write a proposal whilst you’re on holiday
  • Work on a new campaign or product to the early hours of the morning
  • Send emails at 2am or whilst you’re watching TV, to free up time for the next day

As well as…

  • Drinking regularly to help you relax
  • Eating unhealthy food late as there’s no time to cook, let alone shop
  • Unhealthy sleep habits, as you can’t switch off from work
  • Unable to stop thinking about work

All work and no play

There are many reasons as to why you choose or feel you have to spend more and more time on and in your business…

Can’t say no

Having a business is a juggling act and there’s certainly pressure to keep all the balls in the air. You can either get a buzz from the pressure or worry becomes your driving force. Either way, saying no to new opportunities, or additional work, or more money isn’t in your vocabulary.

Fear of losing clients

Your business relies on clients and in most cases, owners have one or two major clients that help to keep their business ticking over. So naturally, losing a client is a big worry for business owners. Consequently, you find yourself working longer and harder to keep your new and existing clients happy.

Don’t trust anyone

You built your business from scratch and you know that no one can do what you do and they can’t do it better than you. In this situation, you feel you can’t handover any work or leave your business for any given time.

Have to stay busy

You’ve worked your socks off for such a long time and staying busy is second nature to you, so switching off feels abnormal.

Personal wellbeing isn’t a top priority

In addition, the Institute of Directors (IoD) conducted a survey and they found that among 507 directors and managers, the negative impact on business leaders’/entrepreneurs’ mental health was:

  • Lack of work-life balance – 67%
  • Heavy workload – 54%
  • Issues with staff/colleagues – 44%
  • High level of responsibility – 38%
  • Business-related financial difficulties – 37%
  • Working in an isolated environment – 36%
  • Lack of formal support available in the workplace – 36%
  • Lack of informal support available in the workplace – 32%
  • Lack of support available outside of the workplace – 21%
  • Difficulty hiring the right people – 18%
  • Other – 10%
  • Don’t know – 1%

(IoD survey, conducted 14th November 2018 – 8th January 2019)

Edwin Morgan, Interim Director General of the IoD, said: “For entrepreneurs and senior directors, life often revolves around work and when a problem arises on the job, it can feel all-encompassing. With the success or failure of the organisation on their shoulders, some directors find it hard to prioritise their own wellbeing.”

You’re not an everlasting battery

It can be all consuming living in this ‘addictive’ working space. Moreover, there’s even a sense of comfort; a feeling of being in control when you’re a workaholic. In other words, you are fully aware of what to expect and how to control situations at work – it’s the norm. Your business is the addiction. Your work is the drug.

In reality though, you are not built to keep going and going. However, to readdress your work-life balance probably feels a massive project in itself. Conversely, you know that there are enormous benefits to adopting positive habits to achieve a healthy workaholic status, but it may feel impossible. In brief, it’s another time constraint to add to your already hectic life.

Don’t pay the ultimate price

Ultimately, if you don’t address your workaholic habits, this can lead to hazardous outcomes, for example:

  • Overcommitting and underdelivering in your business – can lead to loss of clients and more worryingly, you could lose your business
  • Your personal happiness and health can be affected – not having regular breaks or taking time out can lead to burn out or illness, which can also impact your loved ones

All things considered, we’re all guilty at some point of being so busy that we forget to stop and think. Stop and feel. Stop and ask ourselves: ‘how am I really doing?’

Is now the time for you to create a strategy, so that you can live in the realms of a healthy workaholic life?


Further information/help

Visit your GP or contact the NHS.

The UK’s leading mental health charity, which has lots of information on managing yours and others wellness.

Their charity ensures there’s always someone there, for anyone who needs someone. Call 116 123 for free. They also offer an online learning tool for Wellbeing in the Workplace.

Mental Health at Work
Provides invaluable gateway to advice and toolkits for mental health issues in the workplace.

A free confidential Workplace Mental Health Support Service for any employee with depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues affecting their work. Its aim is to help people remain in, or return to, their role.

Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA)
They provide MHFA England training to empower people through education to care for themselves and others



IoD Workplace pressure contributes to mental health issues for majority of business leaders (7 Feb 2019)


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