Overworking is more than a bad habit—it’s a dangerous one. People who work round-the-clock are much more susceptible to stress, not to mention the health problems associated with it.
Think you might be a workaholic or know someone who is? Here’s how to find out if you’re right. Read through the twelve warning signs outlined below, and see if these behaviors sound familiar to you:
- You’re the First One at the Office: Workaholics beat everybody else to the office every morning because working is what they can’t wait to do. They’re obsessed with checking off to-do lists and knocking out projects. They can’t let things wait. Don’t be surprised, by the way, when these people are also the last ones to leave at the end of the day—they always put in more hours than everybody else.
- You Work through Lunch: Who’s got time for eating when there’s more work to be done? To the workaholic, lunch just means a side of food at the work desk. “Food, shmood, I need to make a few more calls.”
- You Don’t Take Breaks: Workaholics don’t step away from their desks to clear their heads or unwind. They don’t de-stress with yoga or long walks. They arrive early, stay late, and, by their own preference, work every moment in between.
- You Don’t Have Off Hours: Checking emails before bed, taking phone calls at dinner, scheduling meetings at all hours of the day—do these things sound familiar? If so, you might be a workaholic. You’re too accessible. You have no boundaries between your work and personal life. This is a sure sign of trouble.
- You Don’t Take Vacations: Workaholics don’t have time for vacations—or if they do, they keep working while they’re away.
- You Don’t Do Anything Outside Work: When was the last time you went out with friends and didn’t talk about work while you did? Do you have hobbies outside the office? If not, you’re stacking the cards against you. You’re working too much.
- You Dream about Work: While everybody has a random work dream from time to time, regular patterns of work-related nightmares indicate a need for concern. If even your subconscious is obsessed with work content, something’s definitely wrong.
- You Don’t Sleep Much: A mind that can’t sleep often means a body that can’t, either. Too much working may lead to insomnia and lack of sleep—which, over time, does serious damage to your overall well-being.
- You Micromanage: The best way to lighten your workload is to delegate, but when you’re a workaholic, you don’t want to turn any task over to someone else. Instead, you micromanage. You hover over all your staff members or assistants, and you constantly correct things not done your exact way.
- You’re Easily Stressed: The combination of too much work, not enough sleep, and no place to unwind is a recipe for disaster. Stress shows itself in many forms, from headaches to irritability, and all of them harm you and those closest to you.
- Your Relationships Are Suffering: Speaking of those closest to you, overworking makes it hard to keep them around. Just like projects take time to accomplish, relationships take time to nurture and grow. If you’re always working, your loved ones pay the price.
- Your Health Is Suffering: Obviously, overworking takes a heavy toll on the body and the mind—among the many health problems associated with stress are depression, discouragement, anxiety, headaches, digestive issues, weak immune systems, and more. Even if none of the above consequences make you think twice about working too much, this one should: If you continue harming your body, you won’t be around to keep working for long.
It would be rare for any person to exhibit all of the qualities outlined in this post, but all workaholics demonstrate some of them.
Do these descriptions paint a good picture of you or someone you know? If so, it’s time to get help. Set major work/life balance boundaries, and have someone keep you accountable in them. Create a plan for stress management, which could include exercise, fun activities, or relaxing social plans.
Whatever the case, don’t wallow in your workaholic ways—the one who suffers most is you.
Do you have some of these signs? Maybe more than a few? What are you going to do about it? We would love to hear about it so we can support you—and hold you accountable. Please leave a comment below.