There have been quite a few articles recently saying that workaholism can be good for you! They claim that workaholics are unique in displaying dedication, energy, and drive. Obviously, I do not agree as an ex-workaholic myself. Workaholics are actually harming themselves and their families and friends. Here are 7 reasons why workaholism is definitely not a good idea.
1. Your health will suffer
Just think. If you are the type who has to skimp on sleep, meals and exercise because of your workaholic addiction, what is the result? Poor health, of course. Researchers at the Kansas State University have found that there is a startling reduction in physical and mental health when 50 hour weeks become the norm. The study took a sample from over 12,000 workers who were interviewed on a yearly basis between the years 1979 through 1994.
2. Your productivity suffers
Strange isn’t it? We have been raised to think that long hours are a sign of a really productive and dedicated employee. It is the old Protestant work ethic which still persists to this day. The opposite seems to be the case, however. Numerous studies show that long hours are synonymous with declining energy, concentration, poor decision making, and awful results.
According to the International Labor Organization, over 600 million workers are clocking up 48 hour working weeks and their productivity is suffering. Peru, Republic of Korea and Thailand are at the top of the list.
One human resources company, Bamboo HR, insists that the maximum number of working hours a week is 40. They are very strict about this and the policy has paid off in that there is no burnout among their employees. They all leave they office at 5.p.m.on the dot. They decided this after seeing marriages break up and managers being hospitalized.
‘We trade a strict adherence to a 40-hour workweek for all employees in return for their commitment to making all of those hours productive and efficient.’- Ryan Sanders, co-founder of Bamboo.
3. Your working timetable is all over the place
If you insist on getting up very early and keeping irregular hours at the office, then you are in for a few nasty surprises. You will be more prone to irritability, your creativity will suffer and your morale will take a dive.
The best solution is to work towards setting clear boundaries between your work and your home life. You have to schedule in time for some quite time, exercise, or just relaxing and listening to music. Some employees are lucky enough to have napping facilities. These things can help to set limits.
4. You are a perfectionist
Lots of workaholics are suffering from micro-managing and perfectionism which make things a lot worse. There is a dangerous side effect of this in that it can lead to a mindset which is all or nothing. There are no compromises and the task at hand is either going to be a success or a total failure.
If you are a perfectionist, there is a possibility that there are underlying mental health issues. These can range from anxiety and depression, to eating disorders and substance abuse.
The best solution is to try and change your mindset. There is, after all, a possibility of failure and this should not be forgotten. This means setting more realistic objectives and breaking the task down into smaller mini tasks.
5. You are neglecting leisure and pleasure
When workaholics stop enjoying themselves and their only satisfaction is reaching work deadlines, then there is something terribly wrong. They are likely to run themselves into the ground with disastrous consequences for themselves and the company.
I know all about this as I ended up in hospital twice because I was incapable of putting these simple suggestions into practice. I was under enormous pressure and stress won the battle. But I risked my health. Lesson learned the hard way!
Try to set time and energy for doing things that you love such as taking your kids out, going to the gym or attending a school event. Another solution is to make sure that you are not available by iPhone or email. Urgent calls can wait till tomorrow.
6. You cannot switch off your laptop on vacation
How many workaholics do you know who go on holiday with their laptop? They are in touch with the office and they are always answering emails and urgent calls, You wonder why they bothered to waste money on the plane ticket.
The great thing when you switch off completely is that you can try out delegating which will give you a great way of assessing your staff. In addition, you will discover that there is life when you switch off your devices. Real life, relaxation, beauty, good food and wine, glorious sunshine are all waiting for you.
7. You let work define you
This is all you are. Work defines you and boxes you in. Time to make a break. Just think about how many marriages break up because of workaholism. It makes sense because if you are married to your job, it gets tough being married to a real person.
You are also stressing those colleagues who have to work with you. This was the result of a study carried out by the International Journal of Stress Management.
It will not be easy to escape the workaholism addiction, quite frankly. Recognizing that you may have a problem is the first step. The second step is to repeat to yourself that long hours are unproductive. Let your mantra be: ‘work smarter, not harder’.
Featured photo credit: The workaholic NSA/ herval via flickr.com