Are You a Workaholic?

Workaholic Symptoms

Are you a workaholic?

According to Psychology Today, a workaholic is someone who works to the exclusion of other life activities, who is consumed with thoughts and feelings about work, and who often does more than is expected at work. Being a workaholic is more than just working too hard. According to Bryan E. Robinson (author of Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics), a hard worker is able to sit at their desk dreaming about a holiday, while a workaholic will be on holiday, thinking about work. Overwork has serious implications, both relationship and health-wise. The Japanese â?? who are notorious for their culture of workaholism â?? even have a term for it, karoshi, which means â??death by overworkâ??. If you think you may be a candidate for keeling over at your desk, here are some signs to look out for.

1. Thereâ??s no off switch

Do you work just for the sake of working, and do you feel the need to be on the go all the time? According to the New York Times, workaholics just canâ??t stop. They work on weekends, they always stay at the office late, theyâ??re glued to their smartphones while on holiday, and they take their laptops to bed. Their personal relationships often suffer, as partners (justifiably) feel that all attention is given to work. According to Robinson, workaholics often have a common trait: an inability to be intimate. Has your spouse, partner, boss or employee ever told you just to â??stopâ??? A hard worker knows when to call it a day and go home. A workaholic, however, has no boundaries and is at a complete loss when not being busy.

2. Youâ??re a perfectionist

According to Robinson, if you have an obsession with doing things â??rightâ??, then youâ??re predisposed to becoming a workaholic. A desire to be in control, fear of failure, and over-achievement are also key indicators and drivers of workaholism. Robinson describes different types of workaholics, a classic one being a â??Savouring Workaholicâ??. This type of work-obsessed individual gets bogged down by the details, canâ??t let projects go, and even creates additional work when projects are almost finished! They live by the maxim: If you want a job done properly, you need to do it yourself. According to Gayle Porter (Rutgers School of Business), they often have strong controlling personalities, and they feel that if they step away, everything will fall apart in an instant.

3. Youâ??re addicted

On the rare occasion that you do take a break, you make sure youâ??re on-call 24/7. Work to you is like a drug, and you go into withdrawal without it. You have no problem working very long hours, and you feel uneasy if youâ??re not at your desk. However, even though you may be in the grip of work addiction, there is a way to kick the habit. According to Leslie Perlow (author of Sleeping with your Smartphone), workaholics can turn their problem around by simply leaving work early for one day a week. Just one day.

Perlow undertook a study with high-flying management consultants, where he forced them to finish up early one day a week. They were encouraged to use the time to do something non-work related, like exercise, spend time with their family or see a movie. Most of them panicked, as they felt that things would simply unravel without them, but he encouraged them to work as a team, and cover for each other by taking turns. The results were astounding. Almost all the consultants reported a greater sense of well-being and even an increase in productivity.

Workaholism can be overcome. Like all addictions it just takes a shift in mind-set and a willingness to admit thereâ??s a problem. Life is just too short, and the cliché is true that on your deathbed you certainly wonâ??t regret that you spent less time at work. Although society deems hard work a positive trait, overwork is potentially hazardous. Leave work early once a week, have interests outside of the office and, most importantly, learn to let go.

This guest post was written by Ang Lloyd, on behalf of Skilled Migrant Jobs. Skilled Migrant Jobs is a niche job portal that helps immigrants find jobs in Australia.

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  1. I never knew that the Japanese had a word for death resulting from overworking – ‘karoshi’. Interesting, as I once watched a documentary that said some workers were ashamed of actually taking their holidays that they were entitled to.

  2. I’m like to work but i’m certainly not a workaholic. I have too many people in my life who under this category and i think they seriously need help. If you continuously keep working, you are bound to miss out on the other beautiful aspects of life. The sooner we realize this, the better it is! 🙂

  3. I just wanted to share this with fellow writers. We all know that sitting behind a desk for too long it may harm us, but how can we make sure we donâ??t kill ourselves by sitting for too long in front of a computer, at least this is what NY times says, quite scary. Myself I started using this little application (link below) that reminds me that it’s about time to take a break once in a while, I hope it helps you alsoâ?¦

    • Thanks Stacy. Sounds good, I’ll check this app out. I am terrible for working too much. I usually have 3 projects on the go and I need to learn to stick to 1 project, one at a time.

      I don’t think the word ‘workaholic’ is fully understood by some people as when people say ‘I’m a workaholic’ in a loose way they are referring to working overtime at the office usually. If you are a workaholic it doesn’t stop there . . . as soon as you get home you are working on something in your free time, you don’t have the patience for TV anymore and the only way to slow yourself down might be to have a few beers 😉

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