Even though “workaholism” has been a buzzword for years, the digital world really adds a whole new layer to the concept. With emails at our fingertips, company laptops in our homes, and deadlines looming, why not work a few minutes at night or on the weekend to get ahead?
If you followed that logic, you’re not alone. According to a very scary report, women work 39 days a year more than men. Does that mean we’re falling victim to becoming workaholics at a higher rate than men. Like many of you, I take pride in my work and get a sense of fulfillment, even joy, from working hard and staying busy. I don’t share this to brag. Quite the opposite. I tell you this because the more I read about workaholics for this article, the more I started to identify as one.
That tendency isn’t good for any of us. A recent study uncovered the very real negative effects of workaholism—a direct correlation between long working hours and an uptick in heart disease and stroke. What appears as increased productivity at first, quickly loses steam. Life can become the definition of all work, no play. So, in order to stop workaholism, you first need to determine if you are in fact, a workaholic. Here are 5 signs that you might be a workaholic:
You start to stress or feel guilty if you’re not working.
Being stressed at work happens. Big projects, looming deadlines, speaking in front of the company. But if you start to feel stressed because you’re not working (i.e. if a government holiday puts you on edge or if it feels like you’re wasting precious time if you take a 10-minute break), that’s definitely a sign you want to watch out for.
You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and/or exercise because of your work.
If you draw a blank when asked about your hobbies outside of work, then this is a clear sign that it’s time to have one. Even worse, do you feel like you don’t have time to go for a run, volunteer, or take creative classes because you’re afraid it will interfere with work? Yup, you’re probably a workaholic.
You’re constantly on your phone checking emails and replying to them just as quickly.
Getting things done and replying to emails quickly is something we can all appreciate, but where do you draw the line with answering work emails during “off” hours? If your sense of urgency is more about responding to every email as quickly as possible, then you’re probably sacrificing quality. Wait till the next morning to reply to an email that needs a thoughtful answer. A few extra hours won’t hurt and will probably save you time later.
You work through lunch. Every lunch.
Many us believe that in order to make progress in our work, that means we need to work more hours. But the truth is that you’re actually more productive when you have intermittent breaks throughout the day. I would even highly recommend you use one (or many) of those breaks to physically move. A walk around the block can jumpstart your creativity.
What’s a vacation? You only take workcations.
Simply put, vacation is good for your health. Resist the urge to check in on work emails “just in case” something urgent lands in your inbox and instead just focus on enjoying mai tais and the salty ocean water. And while you might think it sends a message to your boss that you’re not committed to your work, it will also send a message to everyone else that you’re available 24/7 and 365 days a year. It’s better to have boundaries now so you can really enjoy time off and reap the benefits of vacation time.
So, are you a workaholic? Are there any other signs you’ve noticed?