A decade earlier or maybe less, being a ‘workaholic’ was something we took pride in, falsely thinking that makes us more of hardworking and high achievers, but workaholism is a different story. Having originally been a buzzword in America’s corporate life, the term ‘workaholic’ spread across different countries and regions, becoming the most prevailing work culture which consequently makes it hard to achieve work-life balance. While there’s no shame in being a ‘workaholic’ but also it is about time we stop idealizing this concept. For that to happen we need to understand the difference between hard work –which everyone loves and strives for – and workaholism.
What we get wrong about workaholism
Workaholism is not just about working long extensive hours, it’s more of an addiction, an unstoppable urge to keep working all the time. The concept of workaholism has deviated from the real purposes of work such as contributing to society, earning a living, and building a career, and has become the most fulfilling, if not the only fulfilling aspect of our lives. So basically, workaholics put work at the center of their lives and barely focus on anything else. And no, workaholics are not more passionate about their jobs.
How do you know if you are a workaholic?
• A compulsive behavior or an inner drive to constantly check your email or follow up on work, even when nothing much is happening
• Using work as a coping mechanism and escaping your life problems by overworking yourself.
• Being afraid of taking time off and staying away from the office or work.
• Prioritizing work over health and family.
• Not working makes you feel stressed and worried that something might go wrong.
How to overcome being a workaholic?
1. Identify the real issue. Some people overwork themselves out of fear of failure, being rejected, or seeking validation and approval. So, identify the reasons why you find it hard to take a break.
2. Set boundaries. Work hard on your self-discipline and setting boundaries. Stop checking your email, following up, or thinking about work problems the moment you leave the office, and monitor your behavior.
3. Focus more on your personal life. Take a moment to catch up on everything you missed out on with your family and friends just because you spend all your time working.
4. Use your annual leaves. You need to know that you need to take a break and that non-stop work will not make you more productive, on the contrary, it will eventually have a negative impact. Make sure to take a break to look after your well-being, change scenery, refresh, and unwind.
5. Put an end to the guilt of not working. Understand that taking a break or not working after hours is not unproductive but rather necessary. Change your perception of work and if it feels like a bigger problem to deal with on your own, seek professional help.