I was so busy working that I missed July 5 National Workaholics Day. I guess I am guilty as charged. In fact, it wasn’t until a Forbes article undulated before my tired work eyes did, I ever know there was a National Workaholic Day. In my life every day is a workday.
According to Aldous Huxley, who in no way could foresee the brave new world of today, he said, “Workaholics intoxicate themselves with work, so they won’t really see how they are.”
How many of you are passionate about the work you do? How many of you skip time off in return for more work? How many family outings, walks in the park etc have you missed > Just ask yourself how many hours a week are devoted to work versus family versus paly etc/
Bryan Robinson gives us 10 warning flags:
- Need to control – One has trouble letting go, delegating tasks or asking for help of projects because they know best. This becomes extremely time consuming and the exclusivity of the task lies just with you
- Rushing and hyper business- Do you have a hard time coming up for air and work, work is always what’s on your mind. You can’t even enjoy a holiday or a day off as work is always on your mind. If not you then you might have an employee who is driving themselves to the bone. What suffers most is relationships and intimacy as there is just no time for that.
- Perfectionism- As Mr. Rogers once said, “Everyone makes mistakes oh yes they do.” Yet a work alcoholic sets such high standards there is no room for error and one can never be good enough, smart enough, fast enough, etc. Thus, setting the stage for failure and self-hate. This also leads to anger at colleagues for not meeting the unreachable standards that are your constant bedfellows.
- Difficulty with Intimacy and crumbling relationships
Family celebrations, children’s recitals, friends’ birthdays fall by the wayside as you are always too busy. Even when you are present your mind in somewhere else and while you love everyone you are as I coined many years ago, “nonintentional unavailable”. Being in the present with colleagues, co-workers is full of obstacles as you are always in the future. Intimate relationships take a back seat and you feel like a stranger in your own home watching a play full of unfamiliar characters
- Work Binges. Let’s face it you just work, work, work. You fall asleep working. You mind is always racing with work. You might sleep off your work binge like an alcoholic sleeps off a bender. When a loved one complains, you deny, minimize and rationalize away. You may even hide your laptop, but you check in throughout the evening. The sound of email pinging is your “work fix” to get through an evening,
- Restlessness and inability to relax- And yes you have tried all those meditation apps and they are just not for you as there is a constant voice in your head that tells you have not earned the right to relax. You turn friendships into work relationships always based on what can you do for me. Recreation becomes productivity – going to a conference is ultimately a money-making venture.
- Brownouts – Work Trances and “DWW”- Work trances are parallel to blackouts or brownouts where you literally forget, have memory lapses as you are so engrossed in work. Driving while working (DWW) can cause you to miss your turn or zoom pass a stop sign or have a fender bender as you were not present.
- Impatience and Irritability – You have no patience for waiting whether it’s at the checkout line in the grocery store, restaurant or movie line. Waiting at a doctor’s office is just unbearable as you quickly gaze into your cell or pound on your laptop. You make quick decisions because of impulsivity and may accidently bypass much needed research getting yourself more into trouble.
- Self-inadequacy – The way you gain esteem is through what you produce not who you are. You are constantly trying to prove yourself to others . You experience a grave send of low self-esteem and often are plagued by the imposter syndrome. Getting results is like getting a blue ribbon it gives one a temporary high.
- Self-Neglect – Self-care is at the bottom of your list. Rest, nutrition and exercise often take a back seat although you may say you play hard and work hard most exercise is tied into looking good on the job. Often you may engage in unhealthy behaviors poor nutrition, chain smoking or compulsive eating. Or you may go the other extreme and be regimented, even compulsive with self-care. If health issues appear, they tend to take a back seat to work
If THE SHOE FITS, what can you do to address your work alcoholism or that of a loved one friend or colleague?
Here are some tips:
- If any of this sounds like you take the day of and consider the cost -benefits of what you are doing. Take a look and see if there are any areas of your life that may require attention. Consider the other aspects of life that may be neglected relationships, family, children, pets, community.
- Take a day off step back, take it easy and see how that feels. Try doing nothing (I know that is hard) I have been there. Try taking a nap in the middle of the day, read a fun book, watch a video, take a vacation (Oh My).
- Lastly and most importantly changing one’s habits is not always the easiest thing to do. Seek consultation from a professional team that understands the importance of work life balance. At my company All About Interventions, we can help you through clinical assessment, solution-focused coaching and referral. We often work hand in hand with Dr. James Flowers and his team at Flowers Health Institute so that you are able to have a comprehensive executive health exam and evaluation that helps you set you on a new and actually more productive path.
So, if you are like me or know someone that is more in love with work then with life , reach out to discover the joy of living. It’s well worth the work!
‘The world will tell you there are pyramids you must climb to feel successful. Pay no attention. Your life’s joy isn’t at the apex of a pyramid. It comes from a well of creativity that flows from your very center.” –Martha Beck