What is a workaholic? Do you qualify? And if so, does it matter? Is it really so bad?
I didn’t realize it at the time but this topic has actually plagued me ever since I had my first paper route at age 11. The idea of getting my pudgy little hands on a little coinage was intoxicating at that age. It meant power, freedom and success. Yes….even at that tender age, I was always looking for ways to make more money.
Fortunately, my attitude about money and wealth shifted. But I know that living as a workaholic is terrible. And working very hard isn’t the same as being a money hero to our family. If anything, it’s the exact opposite. Are you gripped by this problem? If so let’s see how to solve this problem by first discovering what work addiction looks like.
What is a workaholic?
I am not a trained expert in this field. So rather than bore you with my opinion, let’s see what Alcoholics Anonymous says about the general topic of addiction and see what we can learn.
Neal’s Notes: One great solution I found to this problem was taking a real good look at what success really means to me. Once I understand that “living large” wasn’t just about money, it helped balance me out a little.
AA offers a self-assessment quiz for people who want to know if the shoe fits. I made a few changes to the AA list and reduced the number of questions to 8 in an effort to understand work addiction. Ask yourself these questions and see how you do:
Answer YES or NO to the following questions.
1 – Have you ever decided to stop working so hard for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
2 – Do you wish people would mind their own business about how much you work– stop telling you what to do?
3 – Have you ever switched from one kind of overworking to another in the hope that this would keep you from being a workaholic?
4 – Do you envy people who can leave work at work when they go home?
5 – Have you had problems connected with relationships, family or your spiritual life because of the amount of time you spend working during the past year?
6 – Do you ever try to get a head start on work by putting in a few extra hours at home – only to find it almost impossible to pull yourself away?
7 – Do you tell yourself you can stop overworking any time you want to, even though you keep getting doing so when you don’t mean to?
8 – Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not work so hard?
How many “yes” answers did you come up with? If we use the same ratio as AA does, you might be a workaholic if you answer “yes” to 3 or more questions. If you qualify, the good news is you know you have a problem that you can address.
What can you do about being a workaholic?
1. Professional Help
At the start of this post I made it clear that I am not an expert in the field of addiction. I wasn’t kidding. If you think you are addicted to work, see a professional and contact Workaholics Anonymous. There is no shame in asking for help. You deserve to live a full life and you can’t have that if you are a workaholic.
If you talk to a therapist make sure she specializes in this field. Don’t see a generalist. You want the best help you can get and a generalist just can’t deliver the goods like a specialist can when it comes to this topic.
2. Boundaries & Accountability
Whether or not you seek professional guidance, you are going to have to create boundaries and find an accountability partner if you want freedom from being addicted to work. Chances are high you’ve already tried to impose limits on yourself but it didn’t work. I understand that.
My experience is that boundaries without accountability rarely cuts it. There is something really potent about being accountable to another person. I can’t tell you why this is so but I know it works.
Look around for someone you think is really balanced when it comes to her work and her personal life. Tell her the nature of what’s going on in your life and ask for help. Chances are very high your friend will be honored by your request and jump at the opportunity to help.
Work with your accountability partner to establish healthy boundaries around work and check in with her at least once a week. If you find that this helps, great. But if you still struggle, reconsider your decision about seeking professional help. Life is too short friend.
How did you do on the quiz? Are you a workaholic? If so, what are you going to do about it?