Menu Join now Search

Worried You’re a Workaholic?

Are you a workaholic? Merriam-Webster defines one as “a compulsive worker.”

The Wall Street Journal has done a story about people who are addicted to their Blackberries ... so much so, that they neglect their children, spouse and friends. (It was their most e-mailed story of the day—probably because so many can relate!)

Different research offers different criteria for determining if one suffers from this could-be-serious dilemma. But questions on some of the lists such as, “Do you work more than forty hours per week?” don’t seem fair in today’s world.

So perhaps realistic questions to ask include, “Does work go with you to bed? Vacations? Weekend hours?”; “Are you usually late or a no-show for events due to work obligations?”; “Do you fear failure if you aren’t working or that someone may do a better job than you?”; “Do you constantly think about work?”

Technology has made it so easy for us to be connected and to be workaholics. However, there comes a time when slowing down is necessary. Sure, it is much easier said than done. But there’s a saying, “The graveyard is full of indispensable people ... or, oops, people that just thought they were.” So, it is time to stop and make time for ourselves, our families and our friends. But slowing down takes great discipline.

Here are ideas to consider:

  • Schedule time (and stick to it) to spend with family and friends. Take personal inventory of who is in your life and if they feel valued. Do they have the time with you that they deserve? Will you look back in twenty years and wish you kissed someone more or spent the afternoon at the park more, or will you be so grateful you answered all those emails in one sitting?
  • Take a vacation ... a real vacation. Leave the computer at home and put the Blackberry in the safe deposit box. The Sheraton in Chicago has made headlines with its program of checking in Blackberries and therefore creating instant detox. Perhaps you can create your own program.
  • Learn how to delegate. Sure we all feel like if we do the project at hand, it is done the best way; it is done right. But how does that help us or the people we’re supposed to be training? Go ahead and turn some projects over! If you need help delegating, start slow and eventually it will become easier and easier.
  • Be healthy. Take some time for a walk in the morning, whether outside or on the treadmill. Get the endorphins moving and also clear your mind. It puts things into perspective and gives you energy to do so.
  • Read a book in the evenings. There are so many good books out there! When was the last time you lost yourself in someone else’s world? Even if it is just a chapter a night, discipline yourself to make the time.

If your workaholism is really bad, consider seeing a counselor. Some people work to avoid intimate relationships, close friendships or even just thinking about everyday situations. How many times have we heard, or even ourselves said, “I’m going to work, I need the distraction?” But remember: you don’t want to be one of those indispensable people in the graveyard! 

By Bridget Graham for The Savvy Gal