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How can workaholics maintain a good work-family balance?

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 24, 2021
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In order to prevent their families from falling apart while pursuing their goals, how can workaholics maintain a balance between work and family life? Come up with a system or a way that lets workaholics work while also providing sufficient attention/time to their families.

A few assumptions that form the crust of the problem:
  • A workaholic finds joy/satisfaction in getting work done.
  • They are hyperfocused on what they do and love it. Could autism be the reason?
  • When not working, they think about work and subconsciously crave returning to it.
  • Inability to work makes them unhappy.
  • Doing anything other than work is considered a short break before they can return to what they "live for".
  • As a result of their absence, their family and social lives suffer.
  • The partner didn't sign up to being "alone" in the relationship while the workaholic is absent most of the time. Over time, they become increasingly resentful of the workaholic partner and grow increasingly unhappy about the situation.
  • The kids are growing up with an absent workaholic parent. They get used to it but it leaves a permanent mark on their psyche (self-confidence?).
  • The workaholic sees things differently. "I will just get this done and then personal life can proceed." In reality it never does. If work ever gets completed, new work is necessary to give their life meaning/joy.
  • In theory the workaholic wants a partner, family, and social life, but in practice needs to work.
So how can a workaholic keep their family/social life from not falling apart? How can they keep their families happy while not being unhappy themselves in the process?
Creative contributions

Alternate wins between work and family without skipping turns

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 24, 2021
After scoring a win at work, make it mandatory to not focus on work until you score an equally strong win at home. Make a family member happy, spend quality time with your loved ones, take your partner on a date, go camping with your child, etc.

Only when you scored a win at home, are you allowed to focus on scoring the next win at work.

And the cycle continues.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
I keep forgetting to do this. It time to work on some habit building techniques
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Stick to a strict schedule

Spook Louw
Spook Louw Sep 02, 2021
This may be somewhat obvious, but it would still be an effective solution.

Sticking to a strict schedule allows you to focus on work when it's time to work, but also to put work away during the hours not allocated to work.

This has become more difficult to do since we are able to take work everywhere we go on cellphones and laptops, but imagine the routine of a tradesman like a builder. While on-site, a builder's family cannot reach or bother him/her while working, but when he/she is home, there's nothing to be done about work, so attention can then be focussed on the family. There is no reason any of us cannot approach work/family balance in the same way, the trick is to be disciplined and sticking to the allocated time slots regardless of what might be going on in your personal/professional life.

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Schedule more work on rainy/cold days and more family time on sunny/warm days

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Apr 14, 2022
If you work indoors, use the weather forecast to schedule more intense work when the weather is not pleasant outside. In contrast, take more time off and spend it outdoors with family/friends when the weather is nice. Picnics, trips, etc.
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A percentage of time spent in working is pledged to the family

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Jun 27, 2022
A percentage is decided by the members of the family (for example, say 20%). The work time is recorded every day. At the end of the day, 20% of the work time is calculated and pledged to the family. The working individual has a week to donate that 20% to the family in any way the family needs. So, if the person works for 12 hours on a particular day, they pledge 2.4 hours to the family and donate is within 1 week.
Every day, 20% of that day's time spent working is generated, which means that they need to donate some time every day to not accumulate it for a week. The only way they can not accumulate more time is by working less or by not working. For example, if they work for 4 hours a day, they need to donate only 0.8 hours in the immediate week.
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Promote personal life/work balance in the society

Michaela D
Michaela D Oct 08, 2021
This balance is not always up to one person's efforts. For employees, it is not easy to maintain a good balance when there is a workaholic environment and long hours are expected. The biggest change would come if the whole society (and your boss) considered personal time as important as working time. This is the case in some countries (ex Scandinavia) which in this aspect are an exception in the Western World.
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Family business

Povilas S
Povilas S Jun 20, 2022
This is similar to what Darko Savic suggested, just a more permanent option. Instead of looking for short projects family members can work on together, the whole family could start a business (or the other members could join the workaholic on whatever they are already doing) and collaborate to keep it going and successful. Hopefully, professional collaboration would strengthen their personal relationships as well.
I understand that the issue is making all the members equally interested (or at least interested enough) in the business. So the person who is a workaholic and realizes that should start thinking about this in advance, preferably before going into a serious relationship with someone. But of course, it could be attempted later as well.
I think the main thing is to find common business interests with your partner, there are quite many couples who have a common business, having a shared professional activity often strengthens the relationship and therefore such relationships can last longer.
When it comes to kids, even if they are not very interested in what their parents are doing for a living, it's good to have a spare source of income you can always come back to, no need to always look for jobs, you feel more secured about your future.
Also, when both parents engage in the same professional activity there's a bigger chance that a kid will get interested in it too because the relationship with one parent is usually slightly or significantly better than with the other and it's easier to "inherit" interests from a person with whom you have a better relationship. In other words - if a father didn't get you interested in the family business, maybe a mom would.
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Workifying the family life

Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Jun 20, 2022
We often hear about gameifying the experience in order to have the user/customer more engaged. For workaholics, workifying the family life seems like the logical choice.
Treating the family members as employees and helping them reach their private goals that would in terms improve the company, that is the family.
  • Set quarterly, and yearly goals for your employees' (family members') outputs in terms of what you can help them do. Without telling them so. Probably. Intrinsically treat their hobbies as tasks they have and help them guide them as you would with a new employee.
Kid A loves to be outdoors, make a table where you would track whether he did spend the needed time outside. Tapping into the entrepreneurial activity of tracking data.
Also, spend time finding the best way to improve a kid's drawing (entrepreneurial activity of research) and then relying it to them (delegating).
  • Every time you spend time with your family, move an X amount of private money to a specifc fund that you can invest in either fun gadgets for yourself, or into the business itself. With the latter being a way of still having a feeling of contributing to the business when you are spending time with the family.
  • Set rewards for reaching the tasks set for family life. Even if it is working more.
But the most important aspect of reaching this balance will come from understanding the origin of the workaholicsm. What drives it? What is the most enjoyable part of it? Then, design a way to substitute it with something in a family life.
For me, it would be the puzzle solving aspect of business. So I would try to emulate it by having family activities that resemble it, be it going to escape rooms, watching mystery movies, building legos or puzzles with the kids.
Combine this solution with the Kanban contribution and having a list of projects where the family can work together.
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Penalise the Workaholic

Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic Jun 26, 2022
The family has to agree on a specific time and duration for family time. If the workaholic doesn't abide by agreed-upon times, he/she has to buy something expensive, such as a laptop or a car if they're rich, for every member they disappointed.
Once the workaholic feels that their additional work efforts are futile because the extra money is wasted (fines make people feel they're wasting money), they are more likely to stick to the schedule.
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Work websites and software are locked outside work hours

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Jun 27, 2022
Just like parental control on certain websites, the work websites and software cannot be accessed outside of your decided work time. Even the mail and other communication software are also locked beyond work hours.
In case of emergencies at the workplace, the person will need approval from their immediate superior and the HR department. Only then will the software be unlocked for use.
This solution gets the employer involved in maintaining your work-life balance, which will automatically lead to an appropriate amount of daily work for you.
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Povilas S
Povilas S Jun 29, 2022
Essentially this issue all depends on how you look at it (or how the workaholic person looks at it). If family/relationships are only what they want in theory, then perhaps it would be best not to have one. If work is truly the main source of satisfaction for them and everything else is secondary or even unnecessary, then they should focus on work and stay happy.
However, if they understand that family/relationships are a big puzzle piece lacking to bring happiness, they should then consider their workaholism a problem that needs to be tackled.
Workaholism can be viewed as, and perhaps is a psychological problem that has its root causes and they can be tackled using psychotherapy or/and other types of techniques.
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Maintain a list of projects where your family can work with you

Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 05, 2022
Keep coming up with new projects where your family can work with you. Actively maintain a backlog/list of such projects that never runs out.
The family may not enjoy every project you come up with, but keep trying.
Keep reviewing past projects and rate everyone's experience for each. Extract concepts from past projects and look to recycle the successful ones as new projects.
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Using Kanban to schedule family-friendly work projects so that workaholics can spend more quality time with their families while still working

Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 05, 2022
A habit that helps workaholics spend more quality time with their families while also working. Using kanban to plan projects that include the entire family, are fun but also get work done.
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