With modern technology, your work is accessible no matter where you are. This leads to many of us answering emails after work hours, preparing for presentations over the weekends and not knowing how to truly switch off from work mode.
So what’s the difference between being a hard worker and a workaholic? Where do you draw the between passion and obsession? Check out these signs to see if you have an unhealthy work-life balance:
1. You can’t stop thinking about work
Workaholics are so preoccupied that they are never fully present in the moment. Are you stressed even when you’re not in the office? Even when you’re on vacation, are you compulsively checking emails and making calls?
“Workaholism is not defined by hours. It’s defined by what’s going on inside of us,” according to Bryan Robinson, psychotherapist and author of the book Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them. “A workaholic is someone who’s on the ski slopes dreaming about being back at work. A healthy worker is at work, dreaming about being on the ski slopes.”
2. Your job is the source of your confidence
Is your mood dependent on your work performance? When you receive criticism from your boss, do you go into a funk? Is the love and support from your friends and family not enough to snap you out of it?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate what’s really important.
Executive coach Marilyn Puder-York, PhD and author of The Office Survival Guide, says, “Workaholics define their self and self-esteem by achievement only.”
3. Your physical health is suffering
Some people are so focused on meeting deadlines that they skip meals and sleep less in order to continue working. They have a hard time leaving their stress at the office, and take their work home along with the emotional and physical baggage that comes with it. Down the line, this can lead to more serious health problems.
“For people who I’d call very serious workaholics, there is always a physical response,” says Robinson. “Research shows workaholics have higher burnout rates, truncated career trajectories, and that they’re at higher risk for heart attack and Type 2 diabetes.”
4. You don’t know how to tell your boss “no” and rarely tell your family and friends “yes”
If you find yourself constantly canceling plans with your loved ones because “something at work came up” or don’t make weekend plans because you’re preparing for a presentation, this could be a sign you’re a workaholic.
5. Your relationships are negatively affected
This relates directly to sign number 4. As time passes and you make your relationships less of a priority, you will start to notice more conflicts surrounding your personal life.
“If you find yourself opting out of activities you would normally engage in with your spouse, such as going to a movie, visiting friends or just enjoying time together, you could be placing undue pressure on the relationship,” according to Lynn Taylor, workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.