What To Do When You’re A Workaholic

I used to be a big workaholic. At one point I had my 50 hour a week analyst day job, I was working towards my Finance MBA full-time (12 to 14 credits each semester, including Summers), and I was freelancing online. I was working around 80 to 100 hours each week. Then even before that, I…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 24, 2023

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What To Do When You're A WorkaholicI used to be a big workaholic. At one point I had my 50 hour a week analyst day job, I was working towards my Finance MBA full-time (12 to 14 credits each semester, including Summers), and I was freelancing online. I was working around 80 to 100 hours each week.

Then even before that, I was working full-time as a retail manager, attending college as a double major (I was taking around 24 credits each Spring and Fall semester, and 12 to 14 in the Summers) and I was involved in school clubs as well, which meant I was busy altogether for around 80 hours each week.

So, for around 6 to 7 years, I was working between 80 to 100 hours a week constantly, and I definitely felt the strain from that. I didn’t have many breaks, except for a vacation one or two weeks each year.

I barely ever saw my friends, I didn’t really make any friends from the college I went to (How sad is that? There was just no time), I hardly ever took care of myself (eating healthy or working out was not in my vocabulary at that time haha), and so on.

Everything was focused on working.

I’m definitely happy with how my life turned out, but sometimes I wonder if I worked myself too hard. I have huge bags under my eyes to show proof of the many sleepless nights I had.

I also know that I worked hard during those years as a way to not think about how my dad passed away when I was 18, which I know is not healthy. Being busy 100 hours a week meant that I never gave myself time to deal with what was going on.

Being a workaholic isn’t always bad though. You are probably a good worker and you just want to succeed in life. However, is there a line between being successful and being a workaholic?

You might be a workaholic if:

  • You always work on your lunch break.
  • You always take work home.
  • You work on vacation.
  • You work a LOT.
  • You never see people that you love.
  • You do nothing else besides work.
  • You can’t sleep because all you think about is work.
  • You have no hobbies except for making money.
  • Others say you work too much and are complaining about you.


Here are things you should think about if you are a workaholic.


Do you know why you’re a workaholic?

First, you need to think about why you’re a workaholic. If you are trying to get out of debt, then a little bit of workaholic-ism may be needed if you want to get out of debt quickly.

However, if you are a workaholic because you are trying to escape problems in your life, you are afraid you are going to lose your job (I have a friend who was recently diagnosed by a doctor with a disorder because they were so obsessed about losing their job even though they are a great worker), or something else, then you need to reevaluate what’s going on and try to find a better solution.


What’s more important to you in life?

Is there something else in life that you would rather be doing instead of working every single minute that you are awake?

Maybe you want to start spending more time with your family, more time with your friends, being more healthy, volunteering, and so on. You need to find a way to work the things that you love into your life.


Have a schedule.

If you don’t already have a schedule that includes others things in life besides just work, then you need to create one.

A realistic one.

You need to find a way to put down your work at a certain time so that you can do other things in your life as well.

For example, if you often find yourself working when you get home from work, you may want to create a schedule that says that starting at 6 p.m. work is over for you. 6 p.m. marks when you can start enjoying yourself, you can eat dinner with your family, read a book and so on.

You need to find a way to put fun things in your schedule because that may be the only way you let yourself do them!


Think about outsourcing.

Is there a service you provide that you could outsource? Maybe you don’t do it as quickly and someone else could do it more quickly.

Or, maybe you could outsource a service and then focus on other things so that you can increase your revenues. Outsourcing can be a great way to find more time for yourself. You probably can’t realistically do everything yourself anyways.


Work more efficiently.

When you are working, you should try to eliminate all distractions. Turn off the TV, turn off any music if you find that distracting, work in an office, close your social media accounts while you are trying to work, and more.

Also, are you good at multi-tasking? If not, then you should stop. Most people are not good at multi-tasking and all it means for most people is that you are spending extra time doing something when you shouldn’t. Remember that switching from one task to another over and over again means that there will be at least SOME amount of time wasted.

Are you a workaholic? Or have you been?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. I’m definitely a workaholic right now but I think it’s just the “season” of life I’m in. If I didn’t have a side hustle it wouldn’t be that bad, but having a side gig motivates me and gives me energy, plus it helps and should continue to help us reach our financial goals. I don’t see it changing.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with that DC. Side gigs definitely used to give me motivation. I need to find some new side gigs!

  2. I haven’t been having my lunch break lately and I have been going home late πŸ™
    I know it isn’t good for me or my staff to see me doing it, but for the short term until I get a new person to replace the 2 people we had leave over the last few months there just isn’t enough people in the team to do the work, and so someone has to do more hours unfortunately πŸ™

    Perks of being a manager.

    1. I think the situation you are in only makes sense. Someone needs to do the work, and it usually falls on the manager. Hope you find some new workers!

  3. I am definitely a workaholic, but it has gotten much better since I quit my 9-5 last Spring. Now I just need to be careful not to tinker too much and to focus on “real work.” I waste a lot of time if I’m not careful and it cuts into my productivity while accomplishing nothing.

    1. Same here – my workaholic-ism (lol is that a word?) has definitely gotten better since I left my day job.

  4. This is something I definitely struggle with. It can be so easy to fall into that trap, especially when you work for yourself. That said, I’ve found that setting a schedule for myself and outsourcing have helped out a lot though the biggest thing has likely been simply learning that some things can go undone until I get more time for them. I like my sleep too much. πŸ™‚

    1. I LOVE my sleep πŸ™‚

  5. Funny – I was just thinking along these lines. I’ve been a workaholic for over 20years – grinding away for various companies. I’m now trying to achieve Financial Freedom and have, by chance, just been made redundant. I thought redundancy would give me the opportunity to work less – but guess what – I’m now working harder than ever. But I’m enjoying it and it doesn’t feel like work!

    Anyway, as Confucius said…

    β€œChoose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

    Good luck!

    1. LOVE this πŸ™‚ – β€œChoose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

      1. Thanks Michelle – a great saying but hard to put into practice (especially a job you love that pays the bills). Have you achieved this yet?

        1. Yes, I have. I love the freelancing lifestyle! πŸ™‚

          1. Fantastic! Trying to do it myself since being made redundant. Any tips much appreciated.

  6. I am definitely not a workaholic. I work hard but to me life is all about balance, and when push comes to shove my family always comes first.

    1. Good job Mike. Sounds like you are doing well.

  7. Jennifer

    I am struggling a bit with this as my small blog is becoming medium sized. I know that when I work more, I make more money. There are always 100 tasks to complete, and when I complete them, there are 100 more. It is difficult for me to take more than one day completely off, yet I feel as though I should be able to enjoy an entire weekend with my family. I suppose it is this way for anyone who starts a business and can’t yet afford to hire help. I have a 9 day vacation coming up in 1 month. I have decided to write a couple of articles and schedule them to post. Then I will check in with followers on social media via my phone. I am planning to only work on my blog if there is a rainy day (and it is the east coast, so if there isn’t a rainy day, it will be the best vacation ever!). It is very difficult to find a work-life balance when you are self-employed.

    1. Yes, it is hard to find a work life balance when you work for yourself, but it is possible! I have been getting more and more better at it.

      Also, I always try to write in advance as well, especially before a trip. It makes everything much more easy.

  8. Joshua

    I used to be a workaholic and I’m glad I was. It got me where I am today. A while back, I started taking an hour a day with no computer in my lap to enjoy the company of my fiance. One hour became two, two became three. Then, I found myself outsourcing a lot of my work so I could spend more time with her. These days, I work about 40 hours a week, sometimes 20 if it’s a good week, and I’m comfortable! However, being a workaholic for 6 years is what made it all possible!

    1. Being a workaholic in the past definitely helped me get to where I am. That’s a great way of thinking about it!

  9. I’ve caught myself being a workaholic at various jobs but usually once I notice it’s happening I readjust my priorities. I don’t want to spend my whole life working and prefer a more balanced lifestyle because that keeps me balanced mentally and I’m happier that way. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I don’t want to spend my whole life working either. Life is meant to be enjoyed!

  10. Yeah, that’s just not good (your producer’s situation). I need to be more like you, I need to stop letting my life pass by!

  11. Ugh….This is so me. I finally decided that from 5-7 pm when I get home from the day job, I will put the computer, phone, and tablet down, and focus on family. After the baby goes to bed I can work as much as I want, but I find that I enjoy that 2-hour break!

    1. Good job! Breaks are always needed πŸ™‚

  12. Workaholic right here. I wish it was different. I have trouble enjoying anything because I always feel like I should be doing something else. I was the same way in college – I didn’t really enjoy the weekends or nights out because I always felt like I should be using that time for something productive.

    1. I often feel the same. Whenever I have down time I end up regretting it later!

  13. I think having a life – work balance is essential to achieve happiness. By working too much and too hard, you ignore some of the good things in life – family, friends, pets, the outdoors. I understand that we need to work a little hard to be successful but you should draw a line of how much is too much.

    My main advice for workaholics is to get a hobby. Learning how to play guitar is not that hard now with youtube and a bunch of other websites that help you, all you need is 15-20 minutes a day and in a few weeks you’ll be playing some songs – easy songs but songs nonetheless.

    1. Yes, I need a hobby. People tell me that all the time but I just don’t know what a good hobby for me would be haha!

  14. I used to be a semi-workaholic at my previous job. I say semi, because I couldn’t really work from home, but if I could, I probably would have. As it was, I came in early, stayed late, didn’t take my lunch, and some days, didn’t even take a bathroom break. It was non-stop “go go go!” I left because it became too stressful. Trying to achieve some sort of balance is more important to me.

    1. That definitely sounds stressful! Glad you have a better balance now.

  15. I am a workaholic. I find myself working at 3 am, and force myself to bed, just to get up at 7 to work again.

    1. Ack definitely sounds like you are a workaholic Marissa. Do you think that will eventually change? Or are you happy with that?

  16. I am a workaholic at the moment. It’s needed though. If my debt is going to be paid I have to make it happen.

    1. Sometimes it is just needed. Nothing wrong with that πŸ™‚

  17. Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans

    I totally get it – sometimes being a workaholic allows me to run away from certain personal problems that I just don’t want to deal with. But I’ve come to realize that sometimes, it’s just better to deal with it all head on instead of delving deep into my work. I’m glad I’ve found a decent balance for now between my work life and personal life.

    1. Yes, it’s definitely better just to deal with problems instead of becoming a workaholic and hoping that it will all go away.

  18. That is definitely a smart thing to do so that you can stop looking at work emails!

  19. I SO am a workaholic, but it’s also because I know I’m leaving soon and want to get a lot of things sorted before I’m ont he road traveling again. It’s bad…. !

    1. I think that makes sense. I’m a workaholic right now because I want June to be more easy going since I will be super busy. WOOHOO! πŸ™‚

  20. Aww thank you! πŸ™‚

  21. I used to have a super hard time relaxing, but I’m getting better at it too πŸ™‚

  22. Your work ethic has definitely paid off. Full time freelancer who owns a house and paid for her wedding all in your early 20s. SO impressive!

    1. Thanks girl! πŸ™‚

  23. I used to be what one might call a workaholic, but that was more out of necessity/the desire to not have debt. I worked full time during school, and also took more than a full course load and took a second job. Plus I had my blog.. and at the time was babysitting for side income. I think at that point I was running on pure adrenaline.

    1. Wow definitely sounds like you were doing a lot!

  24. Good for you to recognize that you’re a workaholic and try to make some changes. I watched my Dad work constantly my entire life and have a hard time unplugging during family vacations (even back in the day when he’d have to find an internet cafe to access email or pay big fees at hotels). I sort of miss that it used to be hard to be on the grid during vacations. Now most jobs expect you to access email.

    Anyway, I made a vow to try to avoid being a workaholic and for the post part, I’m pretty good at unplugging on vacation — well, sort of. I just try to only spend an hour a day on work stuff!