What is the difference between passion and obsession? For starters, an obsession is usually an act that you are always (and sometimes uncontrollably) preoccupied with. A passion, on the other hand, is a strong love that can be the pathway to a healthy relationship or to a harmful obsession.

It seems that more and more entrepreneurs these days are falling into that first category of obsessing over there work, an act that is detrimentally affecting both their project and social life. While it may have started as a healthy, passionate drive, several factors are now pushing them towards an unhealthy obsession that can often lead to failure instead of success.

While an entrepreneur (or anyone) can take advantage of either their passionate or obsessive feelings to force themselves to work, there are some key differences that should be noted. For starters, obsession can often lead to depression if certain goals are not met. This is very common when entrepreneurs take on too much and are unable to complete tasks, disappointing themselves or others. Being overly obsessive can also be detrimental to a person’s social life and family, as they are constantly preoccupied and easily agitated.

Keep It Healthy

When things start to get a bit overwhelming, try to treat your project as you would a relationship with your partner. Usually, one is enough and multiple will only make you work harder for several mediocre projects. All relationships are two-way: are you getting something back from this project you are slaving over? Monetary success may not come easy but you should at least feel a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment as you progress. Lastly, you can’t spend all of your time with your partner and you shouldn’t spend it all with your project either - taking some time off on a daily basis can help fuel your creativity and drive.

All good relationships also require healthy discussion and it’s the same with your project. Find someone to talk to about what you’re going through, the decisions you have to make and your overall feelings. The great thing is that they don’t even have to be entrepreneurs or even tech-minded, they just have to be willing to listen. Talking through ideas can help you recognize errors, create new ideas and relieve some stress.

Tips To Stay In Control

So, to wrap things up, if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed with work, try to do the following:

  • Take a break! Spend time with your family or just go outside and get some fresh air.
  • Set milestones and reward yourself for completing them.
  • Talk out your issues with someone else - they don’t have to be tech-minded at all!
  • Limit yourself - do not take on more than you can handle at once.
  • BREATHE!! Step back and take another look at your end goals. Realize that success is not immediate!

Working on your project should be an enjoyable process that also happens to produce something fruitful. Be passionate about your work but be wary of obsessing over it. In the end, let’s not lose our humanity in the process of finding success.

Note: This is one of the original DevGrow article's from 2008 that was lost in transition. I'll be posting a few more oldies in the next couple of days (at least the good ones).