I remember an ex-boss saying to me, “Isn’t it time you were going home?” Unfortunately, that warning went unheeded and I ended up in the hospital twice with suspected angina! Are you addicted to work, like I was? Here are 8 signs that you may have started the downward spiral to becoming an extreme workaholic.

1. Your family time is almost zero

Members of your family are feeling neglected and they may have mentioned this to you. Your reply is that you are under enormous pressure and that you have to work very long hours to keep your job. But you are missing family events and spend almost no time at all with your spouse.

Be careful! A vacant relationship may be filled by someone else. This will have severe consequences later on as your family drifts away from you.

“I missed my dad a lot growing up, even though we were together as a family. My dad was really a workaholic. And he was always working.” – Steven Spielberg

2. You are not totally open about your addiction

Yes, it is a sort of addiction. If you find that you are checking emails surreptitiously (in bed or in the bathroom), then this is a warning sign. The view of psychotherapist Bryan Robinson, who wrote the book, appropriately entitled “Chained to the Desk”, work consumes you and it can get out of control.

3. You never stop working

The problem is not the actual numbers of hours you work but the fact that you are in constant touch with the office. We have modern technology to thank for that. You cannot switch off any mobile phone or computer without a sense of panic or guilt. Your home has become a branch of your company. But you are also setting a very poor example for your colleagues, especially if you are in a managerial role.

4. Your work-life balance is nonexistent

“It’s easier to be a workaholic than to have a truly balanced life” – Quentin Bryce

This is the challenge. You bring the work home and it is like a large elephant in the room. Apart from the mental stress, there are problems of physical health lurking around the corner as you can never relax. Your work-life balance has been destroyed.

5. Your sleep is disturbed

Not surprising, as you insist on sleeping with your phone. The blue light from the screen means that your wake-sleep patterns are skewed and you can find it even more difficult to get to sleep. Long, restful sleep is now a thing of the past. Experts say that winding down time, without any electronic equipment, can really help you sleep better.

6. You never take a holiday

Again, the inability to switch off and forget work. When you do get to take a day off, you never switch off your mobile. Part of the problem may be an issue with your inability to delegate. If you learn to delegate projects to other team members, you’ll be able to take a holiday and get some much needed rest and relaxation away from the office.

7. You are unaware of the health risks

Sooner or later your physical health will suffer. Common health problems among workaholics are:

  • heart disease
  • drug abuse
  • anxiety
  • weight issues
  • insomnia

“I turned into a workaholic to the point of where my health was in jeopardy.” – Tab Hunter

8. You avoid social events like the plague

Social events with family or friends is not even on your to-do list. You feel uncomfortable and ill at ease when you have to be present. You are addicted to work, but your life is neither satisfying nor rewarding.

Do these signs ring a bell with you? The sad fact is that, in spite of working all those hours, you could actually be damaging your career. Because of fatigue, you may be committing errors, making poor decisions, and destroying working relationships with colleagues. Time to take a step back and try to recognize that you may well have a problem.

“Men do not die from overwork. They die from dissipation and worry.” – Charles Evans Hughes

Check out Summertime: Rehab Time for Workaholics

Featured photo credit: Workaholic bee/Muhammad Butt via Flickr

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