Signs Your Might Be a Workaholic. It could be killing your productivity, health, and happiness. Here’s what to do.

Has anyone ever told you that you work all the time, said you’re addicted to work or called you a workaholic?

Today we’re exploring what being a workaholic means, the signs, if the science says it’s really as bad for you as people make it out to be and we’ll wrap up with some strategies for you based on what the science says.

The definition of a workaholic is a person who compulsively works hard and long hours.

Research published in the Journal of Business and Psychology, identified key signs of a workaholic or work addiction as:

  • Constant thoughts about work, even outside work hours.
  • Neglecting personal life and relationships due to work commitments.
  • Feeling guilty or anxious when unable to work.
  • Using work to escape personal problems or stress.
  • Experiencing negative physical or emotional consequences due to excessive work.

Before you jump to conclusions….Don’t confuse work addiction with occasional busy spells. Working on a project for weeks or months doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a worksaholic. Let’s look at what the science says…

A study in the Journal of Business and Psychology titled, “The Dark Side of the Hustle: Uncovering the Underbelly of Workaholism aimed to uncover the various negative consequences of work addiction across multiple areas of life. Their findings revealed that work addiction is linked to a multitude of issues across physical health, mental health, social life and work performance. They found workaholics had:

  • An Increased risk of cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbances, and decreased immune function.
  • A Higher prevalence of depression, anxiety, burnout, and work-related stress.
  • Strained relationships with family and friends because of the limited social interaction.
  • Decreased productivity
  • increased absenteeism due to health problems.

Another study titled…Do “Workaholics” Really Enjoy It? Exploring the Relationship Between Work Addiction and Work Enjoyment published in the Journal of Management Studies examined the complex relationship between work addiction and work enjoyment. The researchers found that:

  • Work addiction was positively associated with work enjoyment.

    This suggests that some workaholics genuinely enjoy their work, even though it might be detrimental to their physical health, mental health, social life and work performance.

  • However, this relationship was moderated by several factors. Individuals with high job control and low job demands experienced a stronger connection between work addiction and work enjoyment.

    This suggests that autonomy and manageable workloads might contribute to the “enjoyment” aspect of workaholism.

This study challenges the simplistic view of workaholics as miserable drudges and introduces the idea that enjoyment can be a complex factor in understanding work addiction. However, it’s important to remember that even enjoying workaholism can lead to negative consequences in the long run.

So if you find yourself saying, I just might be a workaholic, here are some strategies to help reclaim a healthy balance:

  • Be brutally honest with yourself: Are you immersing yourself in work to avoid the real work you should be doing on yourself or relationships? Imagine your life where those things are resolved.
  • Set boundaries: Define work hours and stick to them. Disconnect after work, physically and mentally.
  • Embrace vacations: Take them, plan them, enjoy them! Recharge and reconnect with what truly matters.
  • Learn to say no: It’s okay to decline extra tasks or projects that overload you. Prioritize your well-being.
  • Seek support: Talk to friends, family, or a therapist. You don’t have to go through this alone.
  • Find alternatives to work: Rediscover hobbies, spend time in nature, cultivate meaningful connections.

Remember work is part of life, but doesn’t have to be all of it. You deserve a life filled with joy, connection, and well-being. So reclaim your balance and find the fun that’s waiting for you.

Your move.

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