A couple of months ago I discovered that I am a work addict. Work-addiction is a real condition that affects many people. Discovering that I am addicted to work helped me to understand some causes of all sorts of problems with my life and marriage. Because work is a necessary part of normal life, and a source of pride for many, work addiction can easily go undiagnosed. If you answer “yes” to a lot of the following questions, you might be a work addict, too. I answered “yes” to nineteen of them.
Twenty Questions: How Do I Know If I’m A Workaholic?
- Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else?
- Are there times when you can charge through your work and other times when you can’t?
- Do you take work with you to bed? On weekends? On vacation?
- Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most?
- Do you work more than 40 hours a week?
- Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures?
- Do you take complete responsibility for the outcome of your work efforts?
- Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time?
- Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won’t otherwise get done?
- Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it?
- Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you love what you are doing?
- Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work?
- Are you afraid that if you don’t work hard you will lose your job or be a failure?
- Is the future a constant worry for you even when things are going very well?
- Do you do things energetically and competitively including play?
- Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop doing your work in order to do something else?
- Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships?
- Do you think about your work while driving, falling asleep or when others are talking?
- Do you work or read during meals?
- Do you believe that more money will solve the other problems in your life?
Those questions come from this website, which has religious references that creep me out so I don’t offer any guarantees about whether or not you will find help there. I found some of their practical recommendations quite helpful. Pick and choose what seems right for you.
Things That Have Helped Me
You can’t fix it by yourself. – It’s important to talk to your family and friends so they know what you’re dealing with. When you are an addict, you need the support of other people to help you build healthy new habits.
Get outside. – Take a 30 minute walk in the afternoons when the rest of your coworkers are heads-down at their desks. As you walk think about things you can’t turn into more work. Make a list of these things before you go out on your walk, as a backup plan if your mind gets stuck in the usual ruts.
Get out of town. – Take a quick day trip every weekend, it doesn’t matter where. Don’t bring your laptop. Silence your work notifications. Go to a science or history museum. Take a hike in the woods. Visit an aquarium. Eat at that restaurant you would never have tried otherwise. Put yourself someplace that is unfamiliar and far removed from your work routines.