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8 Signs You’re an Extreme Workaholic

8 Signs You’re an Extreme Workaholic

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.

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“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.

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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.

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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

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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

Featured photo credit: Workaholic bee/Muhammad Butt via Flickr

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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