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Cover image for Work Addiction | Symptoms and How to Recover?
Shan Khan
Shan Khan

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Work Addiction | Symptoms and How to Recover?

Are you addicted to work? Often find yourself working late hours in the office and continue working at home even then.
People often justify themselves that are working great and it's better to work more but more they work, more they develop a habit in themselves that includes:

  1. Staying late in the office, even not needed.
  2. Distract yourself with work to reduce anxiety.
  3. Over obsessed about projects and end up putting more time.
  4. Love to talk about work and technology trends even in a small gathering.
  5. End up putting yourself in a condition to cheer up when technology geeks are talking.
  6. Work to avoid relationships and end up affecting them.
  7. Told by someone to "Keep pace slow - Get a life".
  8. Using mobile phones to kill time even not needed by doing nothing ( Exploring settings and more )

Discussion & Suggestions

What do you guys think? What should developers/managers do in order to refrain from this addiction?

Top comments (5)

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

One thing that helps me a bit is when I genuinely don't have a potential issue in the back of my mind. Like, knowing somebody else is fully on call and can handle 99% of problems that might come up.

The fact that I have trouble unwinding without this case is a problem. But I do know that a trustworthy explicit "on call" system helps things.

I think that might be different from what you're describing, but it's a thing.

Nature helps with the above issues, but only somewhat. What I think really helps with addiction to my coding and other work is exercise.

Good hard exercise can truly let me unwind, relax my brain. Meditation also helps, but exercise is the biggie.

shanalikhan profile image
Shan Khan

Don't you think a bit more is involved? Good hard exercise might help the affected by relaxing his daily routine, allowing him to get proper sleep. But daily exercise daily won't help to relax mental illness.

Yes, Medication can help to relax the brain. Affected one needs to evaluate and then find ways that fascinate him like going out with friends and learn not to talk regarding work and IT world.

andy profile image
Andy Zhao (he/him)

I definitely had a few of these issues for a while. I think finding a hobby or other interest outside of programming really helped. I started rock climbing, learning woodworking, and generally exploring other interests I had.

It gave me more freedom and confidence to step away from work when I needed to. Also, it helped me take my mind off of problems, and see that if I wasn't being all that productive, I could step away from it and get back to it later.

Would definitely recommend doing other things besides work. I'm sure side projects are great, too.

shanalikhan profile image
Shan Khan

Yes, I would really recommend distraction like finding some physical activities like the rock climbing and learning woodworking you have mentioned. Unfortunately, I don't find these work in my area.

What I think one should do is to evaluate himself and think about the mental and physical activities that shouldn't involve the computers. He needs to involve a bit more in communities or people and learn not to discuss the work and how he can cheer up on talking about the real thing present in front of him. He needs to evaluate and find out what fascinates him besides the work.

What side projects are you referring to? Don't you think if an addicted man starts side projects like Open Source and projects that includes computer usage - It won't allow him to recover but makes addiction worse allowing him to put more work and daily time there instead of focusing on more important things like Wife, Kids, Parents and Friends.

ekafyi profile image
Eka • Edited

Not really work addiction but I'm veering towards something close.

I got into tech fairly late (late 20s) from a non-tech background. Although I'm not one of those inspirational success stories ("from self-taught to Googler in 6 months!"), I do have a frontend dev job that I enjoy now.

However, I have the tendency to always be anxious I'm not learning enough, I'm not doing enough to make up for my lack of technical background, I don't progress quickly enough. I don't think it's bad enough to be defined an "addiction" per se, but I'm quite obsessed about trying to find and finish learning materials (Youtube videos, podcasts, tutorials, books).

I realize it's not healthy to be glued to the screen all the time, though, so I block time for social activities: visit my parents, catch up with friends, volunteer, go to music concerts (that's it mostly). I literally force myself to do those even if I don't want to. Does not fully solve the issue, but most of the time I enjoy those activities anyway, and it makes sure I have better life balance.