Far in advance of the jam-packed days before a forthcoming convention, conference or meeting, and long afterwards, do you work unusually long hours? Workaholism is not pretty. It gets in the way of other things you could be doing in your life, mainly having free time, enjoying your leisure, being with others and renewing yourself so that when you return back to work you can be at your best.
A clear mission
As with many afflictions and addictions, there is even a society founded to help those who believe that they have fallen into workaholism. The group is called Workaholics Anonymous. Founded by a schoolteacher and a corporate financial planner from New York in 1983. its aim was to help others, “Who suffer from the disease of workaholism to stop working compulsively.”
RELATED STORY: 8 signs that your work-life balance is looking good
The two soon became three as the first meeting included the spouse of the financial planner. This spouse had started Workanon, a recovery program for those in a relationship with a workaholic.
The primary purpose then, and to this day, of Workaholics Anonymous is for each member to stop working compulsively and, “To carry the message of recovery to workaholics who still suffer.”
How to know if you’re in the grips
Here are 10 questions that will help you determine whether or not you have slipped into workaholism.
1. Do you continually underestimate how long a task will take and then find yourself rushing to complete it?
2. Are you fearful that if you don’t work diligently you will lose your job or be regarded as a failure?
3. Do you become flustered when people ask you to stop doing what you’re working on so that you can focus on something else?
4. Do you constantly think about your work even while you’re doing other things such as speaking with others, driving about town or even dozing off?
5. Do you consistently put in more hours on the job per week than is asked of you?
6. Do you do everything with high energy and in a competitive mode, even during leisure?
7. Do you become irritated with other people who have other priorities besides their work?
8. Do you consistently take work home from the office, to deal with on weekends, on vacation or as you’re about to retire to bed?
9. When you boil it all down, is work that single activity that you actually like to do best, and that you talk about the most?
10. Have your long work hours impaired your relationships with your family or with others, and have family and friends essentially given up on you?
RELATED STORY: Recognizing workplace psychopaths
Crossed over the line?
You don’t have to answer “yes” to all 10 of those questions to know that perhaps you’ve crossed the line into workaholism. A solid four or five yeses is as good an indicator as any.
If you’re ready to take the vital first stop to tone down your workaholism, starting today, get out of the office on time, engage in an enjoyable leisure activity this evening, go to bed with a clear conscience, arise in the morning and have time before work to be a person: to meditate, reflect, stretch or do whatever suits you—other than work.