It’s the school holiday’s and I’m spending time working from home with my children.
Five weeks in and I’m like a fish out of water. I didn’t realise what a creature of habit I’ve become.
I considered that there might be a faint possibility that I am work obsessed given that I do have a touch of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and like to get things finished and perfected but I was slighted by being labelled a ‘workaholic.’
Then I researched the meaning of workaholic and unsurprisingly I found myself ticking most of the boxes.
“A workaholic is someone who is addicted to work. While the term implies that the person enjoys their work it can also imply that they simply feel compelled to do it. There is no generally accepted medical definition of such a condition, although some forms of stress, impulse control disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder can be work-related.” (Wikipedia)
Loving what you do or job engagement is not the same as being a workaholic.
I was relieved to find that whilst I don’t fit into the category of workaholic I definitely classify myself as being work obsessed.
I was bought up by the work ethic; work hard now and you’ll reap dividends later.
Workaholism is not defined by the number of hours you work but rather the relationship you have with work.
By that definition my relationship with work is based on the fact I enjoy it.
When you work based on fear like losing your job or feeling compelled to show your boss how committed you are, you are working with the adrenaline in full flow.
This type of work pressure will lead to chronic fatigue, stress and ultimately burn-out none of which are conducive for a long life.
Getting satisfaction from work is a good thing but I’m not sure that many of us derive work satisfaction.
Are we working to live or living to work?
Long hours are a sign of dedication and commitment but for many workaholics it is an indication that they need to escape from problems. In doing so this can lead to neglecting personal relationships and responsibilities.
- Finish this blog
- Work on my college assignment
- Plan meetings next week
- Pick up kids school uniforms
- Provide proposal for customer
And so the list goes on.
I have trouble switching off and I don’t find it easy to sit still and relax. I am always doing “stuff”.
It must be my psyche and personality that makes me this way but I do know of others who are the same as me.
Give me a desk and chair and I’ll find something to do. I’m relieved when my family leave to go out so I can have peace and quiet.
When I’m on holiday all I want to do is work, draw, write or answer emails I like to fill my day which would imply that there is something missing in my life?
Do I really need to fill every endless hour or void with something to do?
I don’t want to fall behind and leaving things for a few days means that things get forgotten this leads to more work, hassle and pressure to get things done.
Working over 50 hours a week seems to be the threshold that differentiates the ‘workacoholics’ from everyone else.
- Do you feel a constant need to be busy?
- Do you find it difficult to relax or sit still?
- Do you find it difficult to delegate work to others?
- Do you have an endless to do list which feels like it is never completed?
- Does your spouse or children complain or moan that you “always seem to be working?
- Do you forget things, events, conversations because you are forever preoccupied?
Some of the above I can say yes to but given the modern society we live in, we are all under pressure to stay on top of things.
Using a bench mark of fifty plus hours a week to work out if you are a workaholic seems unfair given many Doctors, Nurses, Solicitors and endless other professions work long hours and probably don’t consider themselves as workaholics.
Wayne Oates coined the phrase “workaholic” back in 1968 but there are many jobs that require us to work long hours that provide a huge sense of satisfaction and meaningfulness.
If we see our jobs as satisfying and worthwhile and we have choice and control over our work then work contributes to our lives in a meaningful and purposeful way.
No control and no choice over work results in misery, depression and stress.
Finding the work-life balance is still a utopian ideal.
Mostly I love what I do, the day job helps keep me focussed and pays the bills and I love to write.
A few days out of the routine and I feel less tired and clear headed again.
Researchers from Norway and the UK developed the Bergen work addiction scale.
Read each of the following statements and rank yourself on each one according to the following:-
If you score 4 (often) or 5 (always) on four or more of these statements it may suggest that work is all consuming for your.
1. You think of ways to free up more time to work
2. You end up by spending more time working than you had initially intended
3. You work to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression
4. You have been told to cut back on work but haven’t listened
5. You become stressed and anxious if you can’t work
6. You prioritise work over hobbies and exercise
7. You work so much that you’ve noticed a decline in your health and well-being.
You can be a highly effective workaholic as long as you recognise the signs and symptoms of over work.
Finding the WLB (work-life balance) is like a pendulum, it moves in different directions according to our status.
The downside of work overtaking your life is that you are likely to miss out on fun, laughter and the richness that life has to offer.
Advice I would do well to heed!