Are you a workaholic
Being a workaholic does pay sometimes- an increase in pay, promotion, verbal praise, but working too much can as well be bad for the many aspects of your health.
Most people choose to work long hours because they feel obligated to. It is nice to want to give in our best, in fact, more than a 101% in our jobs but what happens when it drains and overstresses you. Being a workaholic can be detrimental to your health and even productivity.
You accept heavy workloads despite your other personal obligations and try to even find a balance, which most times doesn’t work out perfectly for you.
There is a huge difference and also a thin line between working hard and working too much. A hard worker doesn’t have to be a workaholic.
The ability to work smart, meet deadlines and complete your tasks without having to allow your job to stand in the way of your personal life is all hard work. The thing with workaholics is they do not even have the time for pleasure or a little bit of self-care practice. They always feel like time is not on their side, so they are in a hurry to do everything. If they decide to eat, have a conversation, or even move, it’ll be done with speed.
Workaholics are also disorganized and tend to overschedule a lot. Their workspace is always littered with unused and undone work items.
To them, all the tasks at hand must be completed before any other thing is taken care of- the empty and used mug on the table, the papers littered around, and even their homes.
Their inbox is always full of messages unattended to. They can even skip and postpone other appointments in a bid to work.
Workaholism is simply worked addiction- choosing to work long hours instead of taking a rest and engaging in other personal activities. It is a strong compulsion to work.
This word, “Workaholism” was first used by psychologist Wayne Oates, and was defined by him as a compulsion or uncontrollable need to work incessantly.
Workaholics work extra hours even when it is unnecessary to do so and instead of sleeping or eating, they’ll rather choose to work. This set of people will always think of ways to make out time to “work” and will even fall ill or become stressed if they are deprived of the chance to work.
Working is not a bad thing to do. It only becomes a problem when it is a priority and takes too much of your time and excludes your family, health, marriage, and other relationships from your life.
Is being a workaholic bad for the health?
There are diverse health problems or conditions associated with Workaholism. Work addiction can affect you mentally and lead to high levels of anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and stress.
When you are addicted to work, you become overly stressed and according to research published in 2013, a spike in stress levels can cause an increase in blood pressure and cortisol levels.
These conditions increase your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and even death.
Being a workaholic can also cause other health problems like obsessive-compulsive disorder, hyperactive disorder such as ADHD, and bipolar disorder.
When you are emotionally, socially, and psychologically dependent on work, you are a workaholic. Work addiction can impact your mental, psychological and emotional health. It is chronic, traumatizing, and becomes progressive with time.
Other negative effects of workaholism include;
- Decreased job performance and inefficiency
- Fatigue, exhaustion or burn out
- Inability to practice self-control
- Creating issues of obsession with perfection
- Poor social and family relationships (investing too much time just working means you’ll create less time for the special people around you.
- Low self-esteem
Are you a workaholic: signs of workaholism?
How do you know you have crossed the line between hard work or passion for work and work addiction? Workaholism is indeed hard to recognize because the workaholic receives constant praise, recognition and sometimes, confuses hard work with work addiction.
There is a strong possibility of being tagged a workaholic if you or anybody notices the following signs:
- Directing other aspects of your life into your work: This means a workaholic makes everything about work- a hobby will become work-related, a vacation might be all about work, etc. They’ll talk about work every time.
My friend Matilda complained about her dad having to bring work into every conversation and activity.
During grocery shopping, vacations, special family moments, breakfast, and even while driving. Halfway into most activities, both Matilda and her mom already expected a work-related topic.
- Overlooking the nonworking part of your life: whether this aspect of your life is essential, compulsory, or none, a workaholic wouldn’t care less. For instance, house duties, physical activity, or even family responsibility will be neglected.
- Workaholics find it hard to delegate tasks: this is because they are control freaks, feel the need to work alone, and are disorganized. To them, other coworkers or employees are not needed. So, they choose to take control of the task at hand and sort it out themselves.
- Feeling guilty and stressed when not working: a workaholic depends on work to feel good and great about himself, working brings a great deal of comfort and helps fulfill their needs.
It’s like taking drugs to ignite feelings of calmness, happiness, a sense of belonging and escape the anxiety oozing from their personal life
People work too much because it’s a coping mechanism against some really bad things and when they do not meet up, they become stressed. If at all workaholics decide to do a nonworking activity, they feel guilty- it’s like cheating on your soulmate for them.
Clear signs of workaholism include taking work back home, staying late at the office to work, and constantly checking emails for work-related messages.
You may have noticed some or all of these signs, but before self-diagnosing, we recommend you seek advice from a professional. Confidently ask yourself questions and give honest answers. These questions should revolve around your attitude and feeling towards working. For example:
- How do I feel working compared to doing leisure activities (swimming, spending time with a loved one, a hobby)?
- Are there non-working activities that interest and takes up my time?
- How do I feel or react to people that prioritize other activities than work?
- Do I feel guilty, unhappy, bored, or anxious when I am not working?
- Would I sacrifice sleep, food, and other essential things just to work?
What is your evaluation after having answered the above questions? Are you a workaholic or not?
How to cope with work addiction.
Once you realize you are a workaholic, there are certain things to do to create a balance and develop a healthier work ethic.
- Time Management is Key: to avoid working beyond a stipulated time, you need to be time conscious. You can develop time managerial skills like making a schedule and sticking to it.
Try to make a schedule ahead of time, especially when you are not working.
Setting a time for work enables you to work for a certain quantity of time and continue the next day. That way, you’ll have just enough time to balance your personal life, relax and rejuvenate yourself.
Also, you can manage your time by setting boundaries and limits to be more efficient and not overly stressed after work. Try to avoid unnecessary workload, unplanned tasks, and screen time (emails, calls).
- Incorporate Leisure Activities into Your Schedule: the only pleasurable and fun activity for a workaholic is ‘work’. Sneaking a leisure activity into your schedule after the days’ work can open your eyes to other fun and interesting activities.
You could learn a new skill or hobby, read an interesting book, relax with family and friends, partake in spiritual activity, go for a walk, swim, or run.
Making this step a habit can help restructure your routine and keep you fully, happily, and actively engaged when not working. Find out what works for you.
- Create a Workspace: creating a workspace is an ideal way to keep Workaholism in check. Most people like to work in their bedroom and not in a workplace.
A workspace should be a place to solve problems, handle complex tasks, and deal with work stress. A bedroom should be a place where you relax, unwind and dream about beautiful things.
When you choose a designated spot for working, say in your home or away from your home, you become fully aware of how to distinguish between work life and personal life.
Besides, after all the stress, you need a convenient place to unwind and believe when we say you do not need a workspace for this. A spot void of work items is best suited for unwinding, recovery, and relaxation. Avoid working in your bedroom.
- Seek Professional Help: in case you are still struggling with Workaholism and find it hard to cope or keep it in check, consult a therapist or counselor.
These people can help you understand the reason behind your work addiction and even help minimize the negative effects of Workaholism. Workaholism is treatable and a professional can help develop a treatment plan that best suits you.
Work addiction is a thing and yes, it does exist but the good news is it is quite treatable.