Do you live at work? Are you constantly answering work calls or email during your personal time? Do you regularly bring work home on weekends? You might just be a workaholic. While working hard is a virtue, being a workaholic is not.
Being a workaholic is not really all it’s cracked up to be. Many workaholic employees brag about working 60 hours a week, and not taking a vacation for years, as if it’s a badge of honor. What they don’t realize is that being a workaholic can lead to lower productivity and burnout.
Here are five reasons why being a workaholic is not a virtue:
1. Working long and hard hours can be very stressful.
While some people claim that stress helps to motivate them to work harder and get more done, too much stress takes a toll on our bodies — physically, mentally and emotionally. Our bodies become run down, we get sick, and are more prone to serious illness. We have a hard time concentrating and become forgetful. And we become irritable, unhappy, and depressed.
2. Never taking a break lowers your productivity.
Many employees feel the need to work through lunch without taking a break. Numerous studies have shown that taking a break and giving you time to rest, whether on a daily basis or by taking a vacation, actually results in higher levels of productivity. When you work, work, work without taking a break, you’re actually making it harder to do your job. The result is lowered concentration and increased errors.
3. Working can be an addiction.
Much like an alcoholic has to drink to get through the day, a workaholic can’t go more than a few hours (or minutes) without thinking about or wanting to work. Work, like gambling, sex, or substance abuse, can actually be an addiction, and sometimes even a destructive one. While you might be successful at your work, your personal life, health, and emotional state may suffer.
4. Burning out results in a lose-lose situation.
There’s only so much your mind and body can take. If you continue to push yourself to the limit, then it will take a toll on your body. It will drain you both mentally and physically, and affect not only your work, but other areas of your life as well. Your productivity will suffer as well as your relationships. Becoming burnt out doesn’t help anyone – neither you nor your employer.
5. If you live to work, you’re missing out on the best of life.
Yes, work can be a wonderful part of life, especially if you love what you do. But the best, most lasting parts of life aren’t found in the office. They’re found in the time we spend with family and friends, traveling, sightseeing, and enjoying hobbies or leisure activities. When you look back on your life will you really be happy you spent more time at work and less time with the people your love? It’s not likely.
According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey, more than half of American workers said they work under a great deal of stress, and 77 percent said they feel burned out on the job. How about you? Are you burnt out? Take this short survey to determine if you are burnt out or approaching burnout. Respond to the following statements using the scale below:
1 = Disagree
2 = Tend to Disagree
3 = Tend to Agree
4 = Agree
- I tire more easily; I feel more fatigued than energetic.
- People tell me that I don’t look so good lately.
- I am working harder and harder and accomplishing less and less.
- I am increasingly cynical and disenchanted.
- I am often invaded by a sadness I can’t explain.
- Lately I forget appointments, deadlines, or where I put personal possessions.
- I am increasingly irritable and short-tempered.
- I see close friends and family less frequently.
- I am too busy to do routine things like make phone calls, read the newspaper or my mail.
- I suffer from physical complaints (aches, pains, headaches, lingering cold).
- Joy is elusive to me.
- I am unable to laugh at a joke about myself.
Total your score to determine how well you’re dealing with stress.
0 – 21 Fine; you’re dealing with stress well
22 – 28 Watch Out
29 – 35 Candidate for Burn Out
36+ Burnt Out
© 2005 by Kathleen Barton, Your Life Balance Coach