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Being a workaholic can have many negative repercussions in your life if you do not get your addiction under control. Just like most addictions, very often the person who is addicted doesn’t see their addiction for what it is.

Their reasons for working so hard are often plausible on the surface. They’re trying to progress in life, or provide for their family or they love their job and so on.

While all these reasons sound good, the results in their life reflect something totally different. They’ve let their health slide because they’re overworking themselves. Their relationship with their spouse is strained and they’re a stranger to their family members. They’re also highly stressed out and life seems to have lost its purpose… and work is the only thing keeping them going.

It can be extremely hard admitting to yourself that you’re a workaholic. We’ve listed a few of the common signs below. If you can relate with 2 or more of them, you’re could well be a workaholic and might need to take steps to remedy this problem.

Don’t think you’re a workaholic? But you’re always working!

This is the most obvious sign. You can easily work 12 to 14 hours a day and it seems normal to you. In some cases, it could go up to 16 hours or more.

While some minimum wage jobs do have 12-hour shifts, these are mandated by the company and you’re given rest days too. However, when you’re working from home and subjecting yourself to such long hours daily with minimal rest, it’s a clear sign you’re a workaholic.

Family time… do you remember those days?

Most workaholics put their family commitments in second place. Work always comes first. Family events, communication, dinner time, etc. are all distractions that get in the way of the work.

A workaholic believes that his family is holding him/her down when they’re desperately trying to provide for them. It’s a strange contradiction – because in the process of providing for their family, they almost end up losing them.

Sometimes it can’t be avoided, but if you recognise you regularly let down your friends and family because of work, you just might be a workaholic.

What’s a holiday?

Workaholics often find themselves entrenched in a cycle of relentless work, their days consumed by tasks, deadlines, and professional pursuits. So engrossed in their professional life, they frequently push aside the very thought of a vacation. The idea of stepping away, even momentarily, from their responsibilities feels like an alien concept. This uninterrupted dedication, while commendable at a glance, often hides the peril of burnout and an imbalanced life.

If you find yourself reflecting on the last time you truly unplugged and realized that it’s been years since you experienced a genuine holiday, you’re most likely a workaholic.

Thinking about work constantly

If you do go on a vacation, but keep thinking about work, or even making an excuse to do some work, you’re almost certainly a workaholic. Be present in the moment where you are and enjoy the mental break. Leave the stress of work at the workplace.

A workaholic thinks about work while having their meals or talking to others or even watching TV. They can’t think of anything else besides their work commitments. We all talk about work, but if you notice work-related conversations cropping up more often than they should, it could well be a sign.

Typical coping mechanisms of workaholics

Workaholics often resort to a range of coping mechanisms to manage the pressures of their professional lives. Many of these mechanisms, though commonly adopted, can have long-term adverse effects on one’s health and well-being.

Caffeine stands out prominently in the arsenal of the go-to stimulants. Whether it’s the morning brew or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, caffeine is frequently leaned upon to fend off fatigue and maintain alertness.

On the flip side, when the weight of work-related stress becomes overwhelming, substances like alcohol and nicotine often become sought-after remedies. Alcohol can be mistakenly viewed as a relaxation tool at the end of a gruelling day. Similarly, the habitual reach for a cigarette during breaks or stressful moments is seen by many workaholics as a brief escape or a moment of respite. Both these habits, though perceived as calming agents, come with significant health risks. They serve as mere palliatives, masking the underlying issues rather than addressing the root cause of stress and overexertion.

I’m not a workaholic, I just like my work to be perfect

Workaholics tend to be perfectionists or they have unrealistically high standards for themselves. The work can always be better and improved upon.

They dislike delegating their work because they don’t want to lose control and feel like others will not be able to do as good a job as them. As a result, their hands are full and their workload never decreases.

Workaholics often exhibit perfectionist tendencies, setting exceptionally high benchmarks for themselves. To them, there’s always room for refinement, and tasks can perpetually be enhanced.

This mindset frequently hinders them from delegating responsibilities. This apprehension stems from a belief that relinquishing control might compromise the quality of their work. Ironically, this reluctance to delegate ensures their workload remains consistently heavy, rarely experiencing any reduction, which in turn leads to confirm the workaholic’s desire to keep working.

If you see yourself displaying any of these signs, it’s time to accept that you could be a workaholic and it’s time to take steps to fix the problem. Speak to a professional and find alternatives to your way of life.

Recognition and acceptance of the problem is the first step. From there, it’s just a matter of better time management, increasing your productivity and learning to delegate more so that you can maintain a good work-life balance.

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Russ Keyte

Author Russ Keyte

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