Occupations have become an integral part of personal identity for many millennials and are seen as essential for wellbeing. It’s safe to say that most of us have integrity and want to excel at our jobs, but at what point does our healthy motivation cross the line into workaholism.
Workaholism has now been dubbed “the addiction of the century.” In our fast-paced global culture, many view “being busy” as a status symbol. Add to this a digitally driven world on overload, blurring the line between work and life, and you have a toxic cocktail for workaholism.
The irrational need to be constantly “working” is characterized by psychiatrist as an addiction; and as with most addictions, it’s a form of escapism. This self-destructive behavior eventually destroys the individual’s personal life and professional integrity.
What distinguishes a workaholic from a hard worker?
It’s an over simplistic approach to distinguish a workaholic from a hard worker by counting the numbers of ours worked. There are many hard workers that put in overtime. The difference comes down to quality of life outside the work place.
A 2015 study in the “Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services” found that workaholics experience social, psychological, and physical health problems as a result of their work addiction. In addition to being susceptible to burnout, depression, and family and relationship problems.
Hard workers are passionate and enjoy their work, but they are able to strike a balance between the job, family and friends. They are more likely to have serious hobbies and take vacations. Workaholics, on the other hand are perpetually worried, and stressed. Workaholics generally view non-work activities as distractions; and while they don’t get joy from working, they grow especially miserable when they can’t work.
Recommendations for workaholics
Overworking and pushing yourself may seem gratifying. However, it doesn’t help your productivity, actually it’s harmful to you. The question is, how to get back in balance. The following are few pointers to consider.
- Follow periodic bursts of overworking to meet important deadlines by a light scheduling the next day or a day off.
- Put a mental fence around your weekends to protect yourself and your relationships from temptations and “good ideas”!
- Learn to shut down and walk away. Give yourself time limits.
- Learn to take breaks during the work day. Take lunch away from your desk or work station. Change the scenery.
- Turn off the phone, not on silent—off!
- Don’t take work home. It’s unfair to family and relationships; you’re allowing work to steal time from them. Try the shoe on the other foot, would you take them to work?
- Take up leisure time activities such as reading, sketching or sports.
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