What Is a Workaholic?

My top 10 signs that you may be a workaholic:

1. You have your bosses birthday on your calendar but not your anniversary.
2. The last thing you think of at night is work.
3. Then you dream about it.
4. You play out a conversation with a team member in your imagination over & over again.
5. You check your email while driving because you can’t wait to check it when you reach your destination.
6. Leaving your desk for lunch is the rare occurrence, instead of the other way around.
7. Work is more rewarding than relaxation.
8. Unwinding doesn’t enter your mind.
9. The first thing you do in the morning is check your work email.
10. Your spouse tells you.

Now we all do some of these things some of the time.  With all joking aside, the real topic of discussion is a lifestyle choice. The work/life balance debate is alive and well. It seems to be the hot topic in recent years. But how do you know where the line is between work and life?  Where does it really start and stop and how can you tell when work has invaded your life for the worst?  The short answer: only you can answer that for yourself. There is no magic here or 5-step plan. Here are some questions to consider in an effort to seek the right balance for yourself.

Can you stop when you want to stop?

With any addiction, a true test to determine if you are indeed addicted, is to see if you can stop when you want to stop. If work is a compulsion over which you can’t stop, even when you know you should or want to, you may need to think about why. Work can be very fulfilling. It’s nice to be good at a certain skill. I would argue that to be truly great at something, time and investment are necessary.  However, when other priorities are compromised and you keep working regardless of how dire the consequences, it’s time to reflect on what is really going on. Work is meant to be fulfilling for work, not a substitute for all things.

Do you seem to cover up how much you work to others?

If you are attempting to minimize how much you work to others, this may be an indication that you yourself do not like how much time you are putting in at the office (or home office). I would consider that if you are trying to hide the truth, there is something off. If you feel balanced with a 60-hour work week, it brings you fulfillment and you are enjoying yourself, then I don’t see why this would be a problem.  There is nothing to hide here. Others may have different views than you, but that is okay. What you want to focus on here, is what you feel comfortable with, not what others feel comfortable with.

How are your relationships?

Honestly. This is a great question to ask yourself. I don’t know anyone personally or any stories of people who, on their death bed, didn’t mention the value of relationship. They matter – they just do!  Sometimes work can be a safe place to hide out so you don’t have to deal with the hard work of relationships. However, relationships are worth the effort. Relationships also have a way of getting back to your own issues – and perhaps that is the reason to work overtime as well. Emotional health is just as important as physical health.  Make sure you don’t have regrets later on because when you look back, you will want to know that you made time for those important to you. I’m not saying all will be perfect, it’s just that I’ve never heard anyone look back and say “I wish I worked more!”.

Be honest with yourself with these three questions and you may realize that you are a workaholic. If you are there’s no need to panic. Ask yourself what you want others to say about you at your funeral – those are the things you should take some time off work to focus on.