Not sure if you’re a workaholic or not? Here are six signs you’re a workaholic, plus five things you can do now to deal with the issue.
Do you work too much, lovely?
If you’re thinking … “Well, I guess that depends on what you mean by ‘too much’, Siska. My definition of normal work is staring at my computer screen ‘til the wee hours while I run on caffeine and some microwaved leftovers”,
Or if your answer goes something like this … “Oh, I don’t work too much. I just don’t want to call it a day until I’ve crossed out that last task on my To-Do list” while you scream internally at the thought of 1,001 more things that need to be done,
… you most likely are guilty of working too much. And if this is something you do out of obsessive compulsion, then you, my dear reader, are most likely suffering from workaholism. Defined as an addiction to work, workaholism has trapped many people and kept them in the rat race.
Not sure if you’re one of those who fall under that category? Then check out these telltale signs that you’re a workaholic.
6 Sure Signs You’re a Workaholic
These days, especially with the pandemic still raging, people have been working a lot from home. And with more people making the transition to the virtual workspace, it’s been more and more difficult to draw the line between work and personal life.
Many people are also working longer hours—sometimes, without them even noticing, caught up as they are with their hustle.
Does that sound like you?
Of course, we sometimes work long hours to finish an urgent task, and there’s nothing wrong with loving your work and putting so much effort into what you’re doing. BUT if that love for work has turned into something close to an obsession…to the point where you can’t seem to stop yourself from working even when you don’t need to…that’s a problem.
Here are some of the most common signs you’re a workaholic, a.k.a. 101% obsessed with work:
Symptom # 1: You habitually work late (or bring your work home), even when it’s unnecessary
Notice the two keywords in that statement above? “Habitually” and “unnecessary”. For people who are passionate about what they do, it can be quite a challenge to see when they’ve developed an unhealthy attitude towards their work.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with being diligent. But have you ever found yourself skipping meals just to get tasks done? Have you been putting off other commitments—prioritizing your work over family and friends—in the name of work? Do you often lose sleep trying to hit deadlines? Have you been doing any, or all of the above, in the past 30 days?
If your answer to those questions is a yes, that’s one of the signs you’re a workaholic.
Symptom # 2: You find yourself frequently checking emails and work-related messages even when you’re off the clock
It’s one thing to keep yourself looped in on work updates, but to be obsessed with checking work-related messages past your work hours? Now that’s another thing.
So if you’re in the habit of checking your emails first thing in the morning, or if you often find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with a sudden urge to check for messages, chances are high that you’re a workaholic.
Symptom # 3: Your holidays still feel like workdays
We all have that one friend who just has to take their work with them even when they’re supposed to be on a holiday, don’t we? Hopefully, that one friend isn’t you…
Try to remember the last time you went on a holiday; did you find yourself working even then? Were you still checking for messages at that time? Or even if you weren’t, was your mind still at work even though you were physically on vacation?
So one of the obvious signs you’re a workaholic is this: You always tend to always be in work mode, even when you should be relaxing.
Symptom # 4: You’re often too busy with work to hang out with friends or spend time with your family
It’s normal to miss a party or two from time to time because of work commitments. But if you’ve been missing out on family dates and hangouts with friends often because you had to finish something at work, that’s a different story altogether.
Symptom # 5: You almost always don’t get enough sleep
Have you been pulling all-nighters lately because of unfinished tasks at work? Or have you found yourself losing sleep just thinking about all those items you have left on your To-Dos? If your answer is a Yes to both questions, then that’s another sign that you’re a workaholic.
Symptom # 6: Work = You
Do you define your work, or does your work define you?
The life of a workaholic revolves around work, so much that they’d probably find it difficult to identify themselves outside their job description. So if you struggle to define who you are without talking about your job, you’re most likely a workaholic.
How to overcome workaholism
Since workaholism is a long-term problem, it’s going to take some time for you to overcome this.
Keep in mind that workaholism is NOT equivalent to working hard or working long hours. Workaholism is an addiction. Just as a person can be addicted to alcohol or drugs, an individual can be addicted to work. As psychologist Wayne E. Oates puts it, a workaholic has this “uncontrollable need to work incessantly.”
So if you’re dealing with workaholism, here are five things you can do:
#1: Acknowledge that you need help
The first step to resolving anything is acknowledging the problem. If you’re still not sure whether you’re a workaholic or not, try asking the people around you if they think you have an issue with workaholism. Sometimes other people see us better than we see ourselves, so don’t be scared to ask for their opinion.
#2: Try to determine the root of your issue
People aren’t born workaholics. They just become one, and it’s not an overnight change as well. Try to think back to when you first noticed symptoms of workaholism in your lifestyle. What pushed you to work harder than usual?
Was it a desire for recognition and approval or a tendency for perfectionism? Was it because you wanted to live up to unrealistically high standards–whether that of your own or of society? Or was it because you used work as an excuse to avoid other aspects of your life?
#3: Imagine the benefits of a well-balanced life
One of the best ways to motivate yourself to make the needed changes is by visualizing the results of your efforts.
If you’ve been losing sleep because of work, think of how good it would be to wake up each day well-rested and energized. Or if you’ve been missing out on quality time with your family and friends, just think of how much difference it would make if you could reset your priorities.
Think long-term too; as long as 50 years from now. How do you want people to see you? Would you like them to define you by the work that you do? Or would you rather be known for who you are as a person and be defined by your relationships?
#4: Set boundaries
Once you have identified where you want your efforts to be headed, it’s time for you to put together an action plan. This is where you set boundaries that would help you draw the line between work and your personal life.
There’s no need to make drastic changes to your lifestyle all at once. You can start with something as simple as making sure you get enough rest each night. Draft a schedule and allocate time for specific activities that would support your priorities, and then follow through. Choosing affirmations and writing them down where you can easily read them is also a great way to help you keep going. It’s also an excellent way to remind yourself to put YOU first. 🙂
#5: Don’t be embarrassed to seek help if needed
There’s a lot of stigma around signing up for personal coaching programs or booking consultations. But keep in mind that seeking help from other people is NOT a weakness. It’s a sign of strength. It’s proof that you are brave enough to acknowledge your weaknesses and work towards growth and progress.
You can definitely ask your family and friends to keep you in check, but you know what’s even better? It’s getting yourself an accountability buddy so you’ll know when you’re no longer on track with your goals. That’s why people work with coaches. 😉
Not sure whether you actually need a coach? Here are 5 good reasons why you might need one.
My 1:1 Empowered Introvert coaching sessions are designed to help you set healthy boundaries so you can overcome workaholism and be the best version of yourself. Want to know if my program is the perfect fit for you? Click here to book a FREE call with me and let’s chat! 🙂