Workaholic… To Be Or Not To Be?

A Workaholic according to Webster’s Dictionary and Wikipedia is:

Webster’s – One who has a compulsive and unrelenting need to work.)

Wikipedia – Workaholic is not the same as working hard. Despite logging in an extraordinary amount of hours and sacrificing their health and loved ones for their jobs, workaholics are frequently ineffective employees.

Before you begin to read I wanted to address some minor presumptions:

1. The purpose of this blog isn’t to make you feel bad for working.
2. There is a huge difference between purposeful healthy work and being a workaholic
3. If you got upset when you saw the word WORKAHOLIC… You may be one!

I decided to write about this subject for 3 reasons:

1. As a business owner, I have been caught up in the web of working to much for my own good.
2. From my experience it has brought no good to my health, my family, or my goals.
3. Illustrate clues to determine if you are a workaholic and how to overcome them.

Let me begin by illustrating what a workaholic is not:

1. Someone who works 40-50 hours a week.
2. Someone who leaves work at work without looking back.
3. Someone who has no choice to work more than 50 hours a week because of bills and responsibilities.
(People in this circumstance would take a vacation and decrease their working hours in a heartbeat)
4. Someone who takes time for themselves on a weekly basis. (hobbies, recreational activities, and occasional vacations)
5. Someone who spends quality time with their family and friends.

Here are my top 10 characteristics of a workaholic:

1. A person who CONSISTENTLY works 50-60 hours or more a week.
2. A person who constantly justifies why they work so many hours in a week.
3. Work is always priority #1.
4. A person who works on their days off.
5. A person who cannot live without their laptop or smartphone while on vacation.
6. A person who would cancel family related activities due to work related issues.
7. A person who always says ” I wish there were more hours in the day for work”.
8. A person who works at the breakfast table, lunch breaks, and on their bed before sleep.
9. A person who makes others directly or indirectly feel insignificant for not working as much as them.
10. Workaholics are usually always in crisis mode and often times create problems to justify working more hours.

BONUS: Workaholics are almost always ineffective and will never get caught up with anything in life.

Now please understand… A workaholic isn’t just about hours worked… Its an attitude, a posture, a way of life. Although its not classified as a full blown medical condition it has many forms of addictive behaviors.

There are many people who love what they do and can work, work and work and still focus on spending time with family and friends. This group is far from few and very rare. If you love your job, your own business and it brings nothing but happiness an joy to you and those around you… Thank God… Your blessed.

But the majority of workaholics have a false sense of work ethics and what it means to be productive.

I can actually have sympathy for workaholics… I myself was a borderline workaholic. I put my work above everything else more times than not and thought my actions were honorable. I mean come on… I was providing for my family and going for my dreams! Isn’t that what were supposed to do? THE AMERICAN DREAM…

Sorry to bust your bubble but “The American Dream” is just that… A Dream – A lure into the rat race of life…. A never ending vicious cycle of work, constant dissatisfaction, and an attitude of “Its Never Enough”.

Working harder & longer doesn’t necessarily mean your more productive… It just means your working harder and longer!

Some of the most famous self starters know and have mastered the art of delegation, making others feel appreciated, and know how to foster teamwork to accomplish their goals.

They understand that being a workaholic isn’t sustainable overtime and drinking 5 hour energy drinks to keep you going will eventually come tumbling down like a ton of bricks. Time with family… Your wife, kids and family members is important. ( Don’t justify your workaholic habits by telling yourself – I have no wife, husband, kids, or family members near by… I’m sure you have friends or not which is why you need to change your habits… Take care of yourself… Start a hobby and set new habits in your life that will foster new healthy relationships.

Self starters also understand our body is precious and although it can withstand many demands it’s still very fragile and must be taken care of properly. Working to much has the high possibility of causing stress, headaches, and tension. At times you may not even feel it because our bodies adapt until its sometimes to late. I always tell people… Experience isn’t always the best teacher… Many have not made it through their experience… It’s always easier and far better to learn from others and commit to change in the process.

Remember: Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because he/she figured out a faster and more efficient way to get things done – D. Hansoon

Here are a 10 steps to help you overcome being or becoming a Workaholic:

1. Remove Work from #1 on your priority list.
2. Re-evaluate your work load and cut back on the seemingly productive but unproductive task
3. Start to learn how to say NO to projects, ideas, and obligations to your boss or others around you.
4. Make an effort to schedule a family trip, take your wife to dinner or visit a family member.
5. Remember that the gift of time and family is far more important than money.
6. Evaluate how you can become more efficient… Delegate, empower and lead more effectively.
7. Leave your smartphone, laptop or any electronic device off if possible when not at work.
8. Learn how to manage your time. Listen or read a time management audio book on a weekly basis
9. Make personal time for yourself to enjoy life… Workout, join a club, find a hobby.
10. Realize that your work, employees and task can and will survive without you… Your not needed that much!

I sincerely hope this short blog helped someone out there realize, overcome and or start down the right path of becoming free from Workaholism… Do not compare yourself to others, their achievements and don’t fall into the trap of overachieving and financial freedom at the cost of peace and health in your life!

Much balanced success to you
Angel L. Rivera