Workaholism: How Do I Set Limits?

Workaholism is very real.

Do these symptoms sound familiar? You’re at home and yet compelled to fire up the laptop and check e-mail and reports and progress of projects. It’s the weekend and you’re hammering away on yet another presentation. You’re putting out fires at 4 AM and at midnight and people comment regularly on the lack of sleep amongst your nocturnal activities. A sale happens that doesn’t go to you and you’re obsessed with finding out why and ensuring such a thing never happens again!

You’re not alone.

Workaholics are often a product of early environment, often the result of an upbringing where they were taught extreme levels of self-reliance and responsibility. They are constantly in competition but not necessarily with others – with their own potential! They may be obsessed with being #1 or with handling everything thrown at them at once but either way, something is driving them. It’s fairly important to ensure they don’t drive into a brick wall never to recover.

A workaholic in their 20’s differs from those in their 30’s and beyond; in our 20’s we are establishing the rhythm and foundation of a career. A decade or more in, we have that tempo in place but our motivation is different. Staying ahead, keeping up, setting ourselves apart – the motivations may fluctuate but these are often the goals.

So how do we set limits that will prevent us from overdoing it?

1. Schedule and prioritize breaks/rest. Often, the workaholic is good at making a multitude of appointments and sticking to a plan. This is why it is critical we schedule down time also. Whether you are part of a family that requires your presence at dinner or kids’ sporting events or date nights or you’re a single in need of the occasional escape into a good book on your lunch break that frees your mind up to do its best work upon your return, you’ve got to make that time. Specifically when loved ones want to see you or interact, you’ve got to prioritize your personal life just like you’re juggling all of your work commitments. It matters! Make that time, lest you’ll be left with nothing but your work!

2. Find outlets that will rejuvenate you. What are your interests? Do you enjoy exercise, reading, writing, films, music, sports or even just some solid sack time? When scheduling for these allowances, keep in mind that if all you ever do is work, your mind will turn to mush (yes, that’s the technical term) and your effectiveness will certainly eventually diminish. Sure, you may think you can take on the world all day every day, but eventually it will wear you down. Even if it’s just for a half hour a day, you need to get away – and when you do, explore something that also stimulates other parts of your mind and gives you a brief getaway.

3. When you have proven you can do it all and will do it all, expectations of you will continue to rise. So when do you limit that? Most of us never do, unfortunately, because we fear that’s when somebody will pass us up as the go-to person, as #1. We think about how much money we are making or how many points we are scoring with the boss, but we rarely stop to think the toll it is taking on us and our lives. Do a personal assessment: are you satisfied with all areas of your life that you have control over? It’s OK to compromise with the boss on what projects you will and can handle yourself, what you can delegate or involve another team member on, and so forth. Ask them: “I’m currently juggling several projects. I’d love to take this one on, but I don’t want the quality of any of them to suffer or be performed with less than my acceptable level of excellence. What do you suggest?” Like any “dilemma”, turn it around to them and put that ball in their court. It soundly makes clear, sure, you could do it, and you’re open to it, but you want to ensure it’s done right. They have to respect that.

4. Re-visit your priorities. Are your workaholic ways truly planting the seeds necessary to transform into the garden of goodness you seek? Or are you just doing a lot of busy work that prevents you from exploring new or untapped aptitudes? Career is all about calibration to regularly examine the path we’re on. If we are swamped with work that is not adding to the result we desire, it may be time to readjust our focus. It’s awesome to have a work ethic and drive, but if it isn’t driving you on the road you want to be on it’s time to examine that.

Workaholics are admirable in many ways; they get the job done and they do it well. They can be counted on, but they can also be taken advantage of. Ensure that your priorities are in order, that your hard work is paying off or will and make sure that you are making time for yourself and your growth a priority!


Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be.  If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership.  You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.  You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

About cvheady007

I am a Christian, Husband, Dad, workaholic and author. Biography Carson Vincent Heady was born in Cape Girardeau, MO, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and moved to St. Louis in 2001. He has served in sales and leadership across Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Carson is best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, the first book of which was published by World Audience Inc. in 2010. He released The Salesman Against the World in 2014, A Salesman Forever in 2016 and Salesman on Fire in 2020. He is also featured in Scott Ingram’s B2B Sales Mentors: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. Carson is a 7-time CEO/President’s Club winner across 5 roles at AT&T and Microsoft and National Verizon Rockstar winner. He has been recognized as a top social seller at Microsoft and is consistently ranked in the top 25 sales gurus in the world on Rise Global. He is included among the Top 50 sales authors on LinkedIn. With over 330K social followers, Carson has also been interviewed on over 30 sales and leadership podcasts, by such luminaries as Jeffrey & Jennifer Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Brandon Bornancin, Sam Dunning, Larry Levine, Darrell Amy, Scott Ingram, Thierry van Herwijnen, Jim Brown, Sam Jacobs, Luigi Prestinenzi, Donald Kelly, Marylou Tyler, George Leith, Pat Helmer, Eric Nelson, Ron Tunick, Jeff Arthur, Mary Ann Samedi, Jean Oursler, Andre Harrell, Marlene Chism, Bill Crespo, Matt Tanguay, Josh Wheeler and Chad Bostick. He has also co-hosted the Smart Biz Show on EG Marketing Radio. His articles have appeared in several noteworthy publications such as SalesGravy, Smash! Sales, Salesopedia and the Baylor Sports Department S3 Report. Carson lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife Amy and daughters Madison, Sidonia and Charlotte.
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