How Addicts Can Become More Productive at Work Without Compromising Sobriety

What’s the secret to being more productive at work?  Hint: it’s not longer working hours.  What’s the trick to working without compromising sobriety: Hint: it’s not substituting one addiction for another.

It is possible to work and stay productive at work, yet still meet the demands of a treatment schedule and maintain the healthy attitudes that help you with sobriety.  It just might take more than secrets and tricks, it might also take practice.

Self-Care First

When it comes to effective, lasting recovery from addiction (be it alcohol, drugs or any other form of addiction), one must get a little selfish.  That can sound a little counter-intuitive, but it comes down to making sure that you really are consciously doing for yourself the things that you have promised yourself in treatment, including:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Making healthy eating choices
  • Exercising and staying active
  • Meeting your treatment schedule and keeping appointments with parole officers, group therapy, etc. as outlined in your recovery plan

When we forget to practice self-care or get “too busy” for those first needs, we start to get less healthy, less productive, and less able to do the other things that are needed.  For example, a half hour spent on exercise may translate into at least an hour’s worth of better energy or higher quality sleep.  Self-care time in = productivity out.

Not Neglecting Needs

If all we did was take care of ourselves and go to work, we still wouldn’t be happy; that’s because everyone has needs like friendship and love that might not get fulfilled with hours at work or hours spent sleeping.

Yet, there really are only 24 hours in a day, and we have so many familial and other needs.  How do we meet all of those demands?

Honestly, few people can and many give up.

Instead— organize better!  Name your daily, weekly, or, even further out, monthly schedule, when you will take care of your other priorities.

For example, maybe once a month you spend a few hours on a bike ride with one child (a few hours per month devoted to each child).  Once per month you meet a friend for coffee.  Once per month you fix something broken at home or organize a closet.

If you name when you will be more likely to fit all of the puzzle pieces into place.

Productivity in the Workplace

After all of that taking care of oneself and others, you finally have time to work.  The problem is: more time at work does not translate into more productivity.

Instead, make productivity as a whole a priority.  Here are several useful tips:

  1. Take breaks: Stand up and stretch for 30 seconds, you can even watch the clock. Take a 10-minute break every 4 hours; use it to walk around and stretch (not catch up on social media).
  2. Set a timer: New research suggests Americans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish! Prove science wrong by committing to a task until complete, or setting a timer and staying productive during the entire stretch of time.
  3. Get it done: Looking at a task, only to look away and come back to it, or starting a task and then moving on to something else, leaving it incomplete, only make you spend more time: each time you go back to a task, you have to re-group. Instead, commit to handling each task when you pick it up.  You’ll have fewer things left incomplete, and your team will appreciate your timeliness.

These are simple steps, but they could translate into a happier, more productive you.  Have other tips or advice for us? Comment!

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