Life Advice



Single File: Workaholism

Susan Dietz on

On every page of your daily calendar, write the following: "If it's 7 p.m. and I'm still at my desk, go home!" Write the same message on slips of red paper tucked into your purse or wallet -- and any other place they'll be noticed. But writing notes is one thing; following through is what takes guts.

Carve out time in your daily routine for physical exercise. Your company may even provide a membership to a fitness club. If so, join now. If not, ask a few receptive colleagues to join you for aerobics in a conference room at lunch. Exercise a minimum of three times weekly. Give exercise some of the dedication you've been reserving for work, but don't let it become another hideout!

Invite someone to dinner at your house. (If that doesn't work, make it a Dutch treat at a nice restaurant.) Schedule it for an evening when you're quite sure you won't be knee-deep in work so you'll have no excuse to cancel. (Got to keep those commitment muscles toned, remember?)

Start to look at your life with the same scrutiny usually saved for the office. When you make that honest effort, it's a sure thing some people and places will appeal and your work life will begin to assume a more appropriate niche in your perspective. List the issues in your life that are making you uneasy. Yes, you'll have to relive them, but running solves nothing -- and only makes the inevitable that much worse when it comes. Writing notes and keeping fit are mere Band-Aids; the real way to stop the pain is to face the reasons behind your workaholism. (Funny thing, they won't seem half as bad as they did in your thoughts!) Thing is, listing them is a significant step toward making them manageable, but it's your job. I can't do it for you.

Still, be confident that "Single File" will stand by you in your search for solutions and make finding them easier than you ever imagined. You'll see; the first one will lead to the next and the next...


One final note: The really curious thing about workaholics is that they aren't necessarily successful people. Too often, the work they slave over is busyness for its own sake, disorganized and without focus. Hard work is important, of course, but one major prerequisite for success is knowing what success means to you.

For more thoughts on that, turn to our page next time!


Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.




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