When you think of the word “addiction” what comes to mind? For most of you, the first thoughts you have will be of alcohol and illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. This is because these types of addictions get the most attention and coverage. They are the most romanticized in movies, books, and music. It is important to understand, however, that addictions are not limited to illicit and hard substances.
For example, the addiction experts at Hotel California by the Sea, an outpatient drug rehab program with centers in California, Washington, and elsewhere, say that prescription drug addiction is incredibly common. Many people have yet to accept that an addiction can center on medicine prescribed by a doctor. After all, if the doctor told you to take it, it can’t be harmful or addictive, right? Wrong. Very very wrong.
For many entrepreneurs, figuring out whether or not they are addicted to something is anything but simple. This is because, for us, our addictions tend to manifest in ways that present as healthy and normal. We are obsessive about our projects because we want to make sure they succeed, right? We’re not addicted, we’re just working! It’s not like we’re smoking all the time, right?
Still, if you want to stay healthy, you should take steps to make sure that your projects don’t become fully fledged addictions. Here are some steps to keep your passion in check.
Put it Down
The first sign that you’re addicted to your phone is when you feel bad or wrong about going anywhere without it. If you feel antsy whenever your phone is out of arm’s reach, the first thing you need to do is to put the phone down and force yourself to walk away from it for a while. At the very least, try having two phones: one with work stuff on it, and one with personal stuff. Your personal phone should *not* be connected to your work email or have any work or social media related apps. Instead, fill it with games and music.
Stick to a Schedule
Channel your type A personality into perfectly following a schedule. The schedule you set up should have clear boundaries between work and personal time. Schedule in family meals, time to do chores, time to see friends, and most importantly–time to just relax and have fun.
Hobbies Are Your Friends
Before you start: no, your work projects do not count as hobbies. Nor do activities related to them (like marketing, bookkeeping, etc). Find a hobby or two that you can focus on during your downtime. These hobbies can be pretty much anything from collecting to taking classes for fun. Try to make sure one of them is creatively-based. Learn to knit, take up collage, try your hand at woodworking, etc. Making things with your hands is a fantastic way to spend the fizzy energy that builds when you feel like you need to be working all of the time.
Physical and Mental Health
You’ll notice when we talked about hobbies a minute ago we didn’t include exercise. This is because regular exercise should be a part of your routine already. Going for a walk every day is the least you can do for your physical health. Jogging or going to the gym is even better. And, of course, you’ll want to make sure you eat a natural and healthy diet to keep your energy up.
It is also important that you practice proper self-care and take care of your mental health. Meeting with a therapist or counselor regularly is a great way to work through the stress and emotional havoc that starting up an entrepreneurial project or a new business can bring. Having someone objective to help you sort through these stressful times is incredibly important.
Addiction doesn’t have to be unhealthy and it doesn’t have to be focused solely on drugs or booze. Sticking to schedules and channeling your energy into hobbies and positive pursuits is a great way to make sure that your passion for your latest project never crosses the line into an addiction to the work.