Do You Want To Stop Being a Workaholic?

There is a need to have balance in your life for good physical, mental and emotional health. Some people have a difficult time giving themselves a chance to recharge, reflect and be playful. They work long hours and weekends. They have a hard time tearing themselves away from their work. Maybe it is your boss, your spouse or you.

You can get caught up in what you are doing and not even realize you are neglecting important parts of your life. To discover if this is you, rate your satisfaction with your life on a scale from 1 (not satisfied) to 5 (very satisfied) in the following areas:

• Health (physical and emotional)

• Friends

• Family

• Work

• Money

• Play/fun/recreation

• Learning opportunities/growth

• Faith/spiritual life

How much balance do you have in your life? How much balance do you want to have? If work becomes an addiction, life tips out of balance. Research indicates workaholics have more health and family problems, including anxiety and depression than those not obsessed with their work.

Some people love their job and spend many hours working who are not workaholics. The difference is that these people make time for family and attend to personal needs for sleep, food and recreation.

True workaholics are compelled to work because inner pressures create guilt or distress about not working. Also, working long hours gives them a bona fide excuse for not having to work at having a close relationship. Steadily working long hours can lead to burn out, interfere with health, happiness, social and intimate relationships. Frequently, marriages end because a spouse feels “abandoned” by his or her workaholic mate.

Characteristics of a true workaholic are:

• Desires control and overreacts to change over which he/she has no control.

• Over-schedules, over-plans and over-organizes.

• Multi-tasks the majority of the time.

• Has difficulty delegating.

• Neglects personal needs, especially sleep recreation and food.

• Has memory problems because of mental preoccupation with planning and work.

• Tends to be a perfectionist and judgmental.

• Has difficulty with relationships because there is too little time for connecting and companionship.

If you are concerned that you are letting your job take over your life, the following strategies may be helpful:

• Choose one of the lowest areas on your Satisfaction with Life Scale. Write down two or three things you can and will do in the next week to raise your level of satisfaction one to two points. The following week, repeat the process until you increase that area to a level with which you are satisfied.

• Write down an ideal weekly plan that includes family and social time, leisure activities and personal time.

• Set regular work hours and stick to them.

• When you say “yes” to something, think of what you will have to say “no” to in order to keep your commitment.

• Learn to delegate work.

• Say “no” if you are over-committed or before you get in that position if possible.

• Make sure your goals are reachable; avoid perfectionism.

• Learn to savor the moment in order to enhance your level of satisfaction and happiness.

True workaholics often unconsciously use work and busyness to avoid intimacy. Also working long hours can make them feel important. I reality, living more of a balanced life enhances well-being and increases you energy. What steps can you take to bring more balance into your life? You will not regret it.