How To Stop Being a Workaholic as a Coach (4 Signs to Watch for)

how to stop being a workaholic

Can’t seem to take your mind away from your coaching business? 

If your dedication to working on your coaching business is beginning to have a negative impact on other aspects of your life, it’s possible you may be suffering from workaholism.

Before you click away, consider that workaholics rarely refer to themselves as workaholics in the first place. If you resonate with any of the above, keep reading this post to discover:

  • What is a workaholic?
  • Signs of a workaholic – how to know if you are one
  • How to stop being a workaholic 

What Is a Workaholic?

A workaholic is someone who struggles with a work addiction.

This is how the American Psychology Association defines workaholism:

n. the compulsive need to work and to do so to an excessive degree. A workaholic is one who has trouble refraining from work. This type of driven overinvolvement in work is often a source of significant stress, interpersonal difficulties, and health problems. Also called ergomania.

Being a workaholic is different from overworking or going through burnout. However, one can definitely lead to the other.

For example, if you feel the compulsive need to work to a point where you get overworked, you may develop burnout as a result. 

However, not all workaholics will feel overworked. Many of them can’t refrain from logging into their emails in the evening — but don’t feel exhausted from doing the extra work, at least not in the short term.

For coaches, this can be particularly challenging. If you feel fulfilled by your coaching work, it can be difficult to switch your brain off and stop thinking about your clients when you’re enjoying your life.

Here’s another way to put it: 

Overworking is a type of behavior.

On the other hand…

Workaholism is a compulsion. 

Rather than being about your behavior, workaholism is about the mentality you have about your coaching work. 

Signs of a Workaholic – How to Know if You Are One

how to stop being a workaholic

How do you know if you’re a workaholic coach? Here are 4 signs to watch out for if you believe you could be struggling with workaholism.

You feel guilty whenever you’re not working

You’ve just finished a big day of client coaching calls and, finally have a minute to unwind! 

But as soon as you try to shift your mind to something else, you can’t help but feel guilty.

Isn’t there something productive you could be doing right now?

Shouldn’t you use this time to write a new client-getting social media post?

Could a client have emailed you for support?

Workaholics struggle to unplug from their coaching business without guilt. Even if they work short days, they’ll be overcome with this guilt and can’t ever truly shut the “business” part of their brain off.

You keep working after hours

Dinner is done, the dishes are cleaned, and the kids are finally in bed. You could use a good book before bed.

But instead of going to bed to wake up refreshed and ready the next morning…

You decide to pop your laptop open and knock on some more tasks from your to-do list.

If you’re a coach who runs their own business, this line is particularly easy to cross… especially if you have a home office. It’s much easier to slip back into work if there’s no barrier between you and your office!

You spend more time on your coaching business than elsewhere

Starting a coaching business — and growing it, too — is hard work. Many coaches spend way more than the traditional 40 hours per week to get their business off the ground!

But there’s a fine line between doing the work and being consumed by your work. 

In total, you have 168 hours per week. A healthy work-life balance requires you to spend your time on other things apart from your coaching business, such as:

  • Hobbies
  • Friends and family
  • Errands and chores
  • Sleeping
  • And even doing… nothing!

But if you spend all of your time (apart from sleeping) doing more work on your coaching business at the detriment of the other parts of your life, it could be a sign of workaholism.

Working makes you feel good

This sign on its own doesn’t mean you’re a workaholic. Quite the opposite! Everyone should strive to feel good about the work they do.

Especially coaches.

But this can be a sign of workaholism if the reason for feeling good stems from more than just fulfillment. For example, do people praise you for being a “hard worker”? Do you enjoy being recognized as a hard worker by your clients, friends, and peers?

Receiving this type of affirmation can feel good — but the dopamine rush it provides can also become addictive over time. And this is part of the reason workaholism is a real addiction. 

You escape into your work

When you’re supporting your clients with their challenges — or trying to come up with ideas for your next blog posts — you can bench your personal issues.

But if you’re constantly dipping back into work to avoid facing conflicts or dealing with stress, depression, or other issues, that’s a sign you’re using your coaching business as an unhealthy escape.

Over time, these issues will start affecting your health — and your performance as a coach. So it’s a good idea to tackle the problem head-on before it gets worse.

How To Stop Being a Workaholic

If you’ve figured out you’re a workaholic, you’re not alone! And you’ve already taken the first important step — which is to commit to wanting to fix the problem.

Here are some tips to help you overcome workaholism and regain a healthy relationship with your coaching business.

1. Implement rest in your schedule

Struggling to carve out time for true rest? Then put it on your schedule.

You should treat rest just like you’d treat a coaching session with a client: by putting it straight into your calendar. That way, no one can accidentally book themselves into your “you-time.”

Remember to only schedule rest during this time — and nothing else. For instance, don’t use this time to complete chores at home.

You can experiment with what rest looks like to you. This is different for every coach! For instance, some coaches will find it restful to take a walk in nature, while others won’t.

2. Set boundaries with your clients

You can have the best intentions of not sinking back into work after 6 pm.

But what happens if you get a notification from a client who has just sent you a voice memo on Voxer?

It’s easy to give into temptation and “just answer this message real quick.” But this is a slippery slope.

You can proactively mitigate this issue by setting clear boundaries with every coaching client.

Let them know how long they can expect to wait before getting a response to an email. If you offer Voxer coaching, let them know when your office hours are — and refrain from answering questions outside of those times.

You can also limit the places where you offer support. For instance, clients may ask you questions by SMS, but that doesn’t mean you have to respond via that channel. Just clarify those boundaries with your clients if they attempt to get in touch with you outside of your accepted channels.

If you have clients who don’t respect your boundaries, you’ll have to consider the possibility of firing those clients. Yes — that’s scary! But your mental health will thank you in the long run. 

3. Set boundaries with yourself 

So you’ve set boundaries with your clients… but will you be as kind to yourself as your clients are with you?

Your clients aren’t the only ones who need to respect your boundaries. You’ll need to uphold those boundaries with yourself, too.

That means turning off your email notifications when you’re spending dedicated time with the kids — or saying “no” to a client if taking them on will force you to work beyond the hours you’ve set for yourself.

This step may be harder to pull off than the previous one. After all, workaholism isn’t called an addition for no reason. But combine this with the following steps to make it easier on yourself.

4. Enlist your loved ones

You don’t have to overcome workaholism alone. If you have friends and family on whom you can rely, let them know that you’re on a journey to overworking workaholism.

You can be clear on what type of support you need from them. But you can also let them know not to encourage you to sink back into workaholic tendencies.

For instance, if you have a friend who constantly praises you for your long working hours, let them know that you appreciate their kind words — but that you’re working on redefining your relationship with work.

If you’re a parent with a spouse, let them know how they can support you in getting the rest you need.

Your loved ones can help you disconnect from work by inviting you to activities as well. This can give you other things to focus on apart from your coaching business — and you may even develop a new hobby.

5. Hire a professional

Even if you have an existing support network, some workaholics will need to seek professional help if the challenge is too much to handle. 

Depending on what you’re struggling with, you may choose to work with a therapist. Additionally, you can seek the help of a coach!

While a therapist will focus on resolving past traumas and working through difficult feelings to overcome your current habits, a coach will instead help you clarify your goals and establish an action plan to overcome problematic behaviors.

If you’re using work as a form of escapism or tend to feel guilty when you’re not working, a therapist is likely the best professional to start with. 

Overcome Workaholism in Your Coaching Business

Workaholism is no trivial matter. And coaches are especially susceptible to developing an addiction to their work, especially if they enjoy it! Since you’re your own boss, you have double the responsibility towards yourself.

Remember to set boundaries with everyone in your life to overcome workaholism. This means your clients, your loved ones, and you — yes, especially you — should respect your need for rest.

how to stop being a workaholic

By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
April 17, 2023

Are You Undercharging?

Find Out In This Free Report

Ever wondered exactly what other coaches are offering, and ​for how much? Find out if you’re charging too much or too ​little by benchmarking your own rates with this free report.

Subscribe to our updates for instant access: