I work for a small, bustling law firm. The work is enjoyable, my boss is supportive, and I have a lot of freedom and flexibility. Lately I’ve been pulled in so many different directions that I end up working during my lunch breaks. Because I always make myself accessible to others, I inevitably became the “go-to person” to fix problems, troubleshoot the copier, direct phone calls, greet clients, etc.
I always manage to sneak in a few minutes to read Offbeat Home & Life while I’m scarfing down some food, but it never feels like a real break. (While writing this, I got bombarded with three separate issues.)
Does anyone have suggestions for avoiding workaholic tendencies? What are some ways to set boundaries with co-workers and allow myself to take breaks so that I don’t burnout? -Jennifer
Oh Jennifer, I feel you on this SO HARD. This is something that affects people who work from home too. I’m always the go-to person for mid-day emergencies, since everyone knows I’m home and “free” to be the rescue squad. I often find myself taking a “lunch break,” but then the sound of one of my co-workers pinging me on chat will draw me back in. Here’s what I’ve done to try and take breaks at work…
- LEAVE. I try to walk to lunch and leave my laptop behind. If I don’t feel like spending money on lunch, I take a walk instead. If I’m physically away from my computer or my phone, I cannot be baited into taking on extra work.
- Consult a therapist. Turns out that whole “I always make myself accessible to others” thing is a problem of mine, not just in work, but in my life. I’m not good at setting boundaries! I’ve been working on that issue, and I’m seeing results expanding beyond my work.
What are YOUR tips for avoiding workaholic tendencies and giving yourself a break?