Being a hard worker and taking your job seriously is a good thing, but when it turns into a work addiction it isn’t anything as good as a strong work ethic. With the appearance of the Internet people began to often carry their work home or stay much longer hours at the office, blurring the line between relaxing private time and work. However, if you work long hours and enjoy what you do, it doesn’t have to mean that you are a workaholic. Joyce Maroney, director of the Workforce Institute, says that spending a lot of time at work doesn’t exclude making time for yourself and for the people close to you, if you are able to define boundaries between business and private life. But when your job takes over your life, you are probably experiencing some negative effects of workaholism. Working too much is a two-blade sword. Workaholics sometimes use work as a getaway from the problems they are experiencing in their families or relationships, but those personal relationships get more damaged due to this lack of time and attention spent on them.
According to the founder and CEO of leadership communication consultancy Interact, Lou Solomon, the greatest sign of workaholism is when your family and friends feel like you are always working and never spend any time on yourself or them. If you feel that your passion and dedication to your work is having a negative impact on your personal life, you are probably a workaholic and it would be best if you tried to set some boundaries between your personal and work life to achieve some balance that will improve the quality of your life and positively impact your personal relationships. If you can’t tell if you are just working hard or really are a workaholic, here are the 9 warning signs. If you recognize yourself in them, it is time to change.
1. You always leave the office at late hours. You probably stay alone after everyone else has gone home to their families and you think that solitude can give you enough peace and quiet to organize for the next day. But if you do this every day, in combination with coming in very early, think about how good (or bad) will this be in the long run.
2. You never take breaks. You may think that breaks are a waste of time, but it has actually been proven many times that having regular breaks releases from stress and improves efficiency. If you always eat at your work desk and don’t take any breaks from your work except for going to the toilet when you really need to, you are probably a workaholic.
3. You don’t do anything for fun. If you can’t think of any hobbies that you have or things you do in your free time, it is time to think about how much you are actually working and find something that will fulfill you and your time – something that has nothing to do with work.
4. You can’t relax when you’re not working. If your job has become your safety zone, you feel like work is your drug and when you are out of it for a while you get stressed out – you are addicted to your work, and according to a psychotherapist Bryan E. Robinson, that can quickly lead to irritation and being snappy.
5. You work on vacations more than you rest. It’s ok to check your email from time to time and be available on your cell phone in case of an emergency, but if you are working more than you are vacationing, you are working too much. Rest is for resting, and it will surely benefit you – you will go back to work refreshed and more efficient, so let yourself have some relaxing time, and forget about working at the beach.
6. You work even when you are sick and you should stay home. When you’re sick you are less efficient and you can even make mistakes that will need a lot more work later when you get better. It might also prolong your sickness, so it is better to stay home and rest properly, and you will get better faster and be ready for work in no time.
7. You are available day and night. If your coworkers have the permission to call you at any time, you probably have no time for yourself. It is important to have time just for you and the people close to you and nourish your private life in order to maintain some balance between the two worlds. Be available to your colleagues during work hours, and then don’t let yourself be disturbed by work.
8. You are not a team player. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a workaholic but it is a strong sign. Workaholics think that nobody can do the work better than they can, so they place a lot of responsibility on themselves which takes up all their time and energy. If you recognize yourself in this, you should learn to trust that people will do their best to get the job done, and let them account for the assignments you give them.
9. You never say no to work and you rarely say yes to friends. You are all up for extra work, you would gladly work for entire days, but when it comes to spending some time with friends, there doesn’t seem to be enough time for that. You should re-evaluate your priorities and decide whether work is really more important than your personal life.