Are you a workaholic? Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to being a workaholic than simply staying late at the office. It happens when you’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with your job, to the point that your entire sense of self is based on it. This can hurt your relationships, mental health, and overall prospects for your career.
Many workaholics don’t realize they have a problem. You may consider your attitude toward work to be perfectly normal. That’s partly because our society has championed workaholism as a sign of virtue! But in the long run, it’s far better to develop a good balance between work and your other endeavors.
If you’d like to break free of this cycle, read on to learn the 5 main signs that you’re a workaholic.
5. You Pride Yourself On The Number Of Hours You Log
In our society, we’re obsessed with numbers. We look to them as a sign of objective truth. If you think of your job in terms of hours logged, you may be equating more hours with harder work… especially if you’re regularly working overtime.
Don’t fall into the trap of overworking just to feel valued. There is no shame in working a basic 40 hour week and enjoying your time off! In fact, several studies have shown that people who work fewer hours per week are actually more productive. They have time to recharge their brains and spend time on enriching activities such as family time and hobbies, which promotes their overall mental health. Pulling long hours just leads to burnout.
4. You Glamorize Hard Work
In a culture where hard work is equated with success, it’s easy to feel like work is the best use of your time. You may even derive your sense of self worth from your work … and look down on “laziness.” This approach may seem noble and lucrative. Working hard sets you apart from the people who just float through life, right?
It’s important to abandon this classist idea and stop associating back breaking work with good values. You can have a great work ethic and still take time for yourself. Remember, the world’s most successful people work smarter, not harder.
3. You Feel Ashamed When You’re Not Working
Ever feel guilty for taking some time to relax? Are you constantly checking work emails while you’re supposed to be on a break? Workaholics often feel like all their time has to be productive. So, they end up squeezing work into every waking hour.
Not only is this stressful, but it’s also hurting your productivity. Without time to rest and recharge, your brain gets fried, and that means you’ll end up getting less done. So be kind to yourself and take a true break in which you unplug and do something fun!
2. You Connect Everything To Work In Some Way
Our culture considers work to be the main source of our identity. We label people by their professions. In the media, we see successful, wealthy people and hear the phrase “hard work” associated with them. By contrast, people with low income are considered lazy or directionless. While there’s nothing wrong with considering your job a core part of your identity, it shouldn’t make up your entire identity.
Workaholics tend to equate themselves and their worth with their jobs. They are constantly looking for ways to affirm their identity through work. They’ve completely fallen for the idea that our job is our sole defining characteristic. So, they don’t allow themselves to do anything that doesn’t tie into that in some way. Going out for drinks? Make it a networking opportunity. Need to run errands? Better call those prospects while on the road. The cycle never ends.
1. Your Family And Friends Say You’re Absent Or Distant
Workaholics tend to get so preoccupied with work that they neglect social relationships. If you know more about what’s going on in your coworker’s life than your spouse’s, it’s time to rethink your priorities.
After all, overfocusing on your work isn’t just a matter of spending lots of time on it. Most of your mental energy is going toward that as well. How can you truly show up for your loved ones if your mind is stuck at work? Working endless hours is draining, and if you can’t turn off the switch when the workday is done, you’re not able to give your full attention to your family and friends. That’s not fair to them or you.
Wrapping Up: How to Stop Being A Workaholic
As with any addiction, the first step toward treatment is to know you have a problem. Hopefully, this blog has helped you do that. Next, start unlearning the ideas that your identity and success are wholly dependent on your work. You don’t need to pull long hours to be worthy! Finally, start teaching yourself to unplug. Draw a clear line between work and the rest of your life. This may mean turning off notifications once 5 p.m. rolls around, refusing to work on the weekends, or declining that happy hour invite from coworkers.
Remember, workaholism leads to burnout and low productivity. And in the long run, you’ll end up dissatisfied with your job and frustrated that it is your sole source of fulfillment. Take the steps now to break the workaholic trend. You’ll be happier and more productive in the long run.