Wellbeing / Work life balance

Workaholic alert! In praise of powering off

All solopreneurs, most especially those starting out, seem to have an over eager sense of responsibility. Read on to see if you are in danger of becoming a workaholic.


Because we tend to love what we do, and are so keen to succeed, it makes it so much harder not to become a workaholic. For some of us, there is also that constant need to outdo our own expectations and the expectations of our peers in the conventional business world. We don’t want to stop working!

But don’t despair yet, for we believe pushing the off button on your work is actually one of the best things you can do for your business!

Work is a life-integrated activity. We think of work as divided into three types:

1. Work-work

This is when your activities are primarily linked to producing an outcome that you can directly exchange for value with your clients. If you were an accountant, you’d be doing a client’s books. If you were a coach, you’d be coaching a client or writing up your notes after a session. If you were a designer, you’d be creating a logo for a client.

2. Sort-of-work-work

This is when your activities produce outcomes that indirectly contribute to the well-being of your business. This could be managing your business records, writing an article like this one or doing a spot of PR.

"But don't despair yet, for we believe pushing the off button on your work is actually one of the best things you can do for your business!"

3. Non-work-work

This is when you do things that don’t seem to directly contribute to your work, but they do in many ways we are not even usually aware of.

Types one and two are what most of us think of when we think work. When we are not doing these types of work, we think we are not being productive. We feel we are just wasting our time.

Want more articles like this? Check out the work life balance section.

Type three is what you do after you hit the off button.

Type three or non-work-work includes activities such as sleeping, relaxing in front of the television, walking, taking a long shower, going for a swim, playing with your children or pets, going to the gym, reading or seeing a movie or play.

Non-work-work is also the opportunity to try new things you may never get to do otherwise. Widen your experiences. Meet people you would otherwise not meet. Go out of your way to do something totally outside the scope of your work or field of expertise.

These activities give your conscious mind a break from type one and two work. Type three work contributes to your overall well-being. And when you feel better as a whole person, you do better work all round!

They provide creative distractions, derail entrenched tracks of thought and give us the opportunity to remove conscious thought from the problems we are trying to solve. In our experience, most epiphanies and new ideas come not from working stoically at problems, but from walking (literally) away from them!

Go on, dare you to hit the off button right now.

Paul J. Morris

, as a User Experience Designer, ensures that it is delightfully easy for users to accomplish their desired tasks on websites or smartphone apps, leading to increased sales, customer retention and referrals.


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