It is all about balance: Demystifying the workaholic culture

A workaholic wants to do everything perfectly and finds it highly stressful when things don't turn out as well as expected.

A workaholic wants to do everything perfectly and finds it highly stressful when things don't turn out as well as expected.

What you need to know:

  • Differences exist between being a diligent worker and being a workaholic.
  • If you find yourself constantly thinking about your job, even during leisure time, you may need to take stock of how much responsibility is too much for you.

  • Over time, workaholics may become too stressed to be productive.

The workaholic culture continues to take root in our society today. More and more people feel pressured to ‘stay busy’ throughout. What are the long-term effects of being a workaholic? And how can someone who is struggling with burnout find balance? Read on to understand the culture of workaholics.

Who is a workaholic?

A workaholic is a person who works compulsively. They can be driven by a need to prove themselves, a sense of competition with others, or a desire to succeed. They are not simply people who work a lot, they feel the need to work more constantly. Workaholism is typically persistent, and it is not triggered by a short-term burst of effort as you pursue a raise or confront an issue.

There are several facets of a workaholic's personality

Perfectionist. A workaholic wants to do everything perfectly and finds it highly stressful when things don't turn out as well as expected.

Organised. A workaholic needs to be organised and structured to stay on top of things.

Competitive- A need for achievement can sometimes lead to trying too hard, making workaholics appear overly competitive.

Confident. Workaholics are also confident individuals who feel they have something unique or special to offer the world. When it comes to working, they think there is no time for anything less than their best.

Overachievers. Workaholics are overachievers who push themselves to the limit to accomplish a lot and get ahead of everyone else. They may even take on tasks or projects that others do not want due to this need for accomplishment

How to differentiate between hard work and workaholic behaviour

  • If you are constantly thinking or worrying about work even during non-work hours, and if your work is negatively impacting your personal life (e.g., you are always late for family events), then you may be overdoing things.
  • A workaholic can become so obsessed with working all the time that they begin to neglect other areas of their lives, such as friends, family, and hobbies.
  • You find yourself constantly working, including on weekends, evenings during vacations, even when it's not necessary.
  • The inability to rest even when extremely tired, the tendency to lose sleep over work issues, and the feeling that you are never truly caught up with your workload are also signs of being a workaholic.

Reasons people become workaholics

External pressure - If a person is working to live up to social expectations or those of their manager, they may be driven by fear. They might also feel pressure from other sources such as their spouse or children who expect them to spend time with them or take care of things around the house.

Internal pressure- Some people work to escape other problems in their lives, such as stress at home or low self-esteem. If this is the case, find healthy coping methods that don't involve working all day long.

Effects of being a workaholic

Over time, workaholics may become too stressed to be productive. Stress has long-term and short-term effects on the body, including increased blood pressure, lack of focus or motivation, irritability, sleep problems (insomnia), weight gain/loss.

Treating workaholism

  1. Admit you have a problem.
  2. Make a to-do list and stick to it. Don't let yourself impulsively add more tasks onto the bottom of your list. When creating your master to-do list, be realistic about how much you can accomplish in one day or one week, then stick with that plan for the time being.
  3. Take breaks. When you feel overwhelmed by work, go for a walk or do something else that is relaxing and rejuvenating. Taking regular short breaks throughout the day can also help prevent burnout and increase productivity in general.
  4. Set boundaries- the key here is knowing how much time and energy should be dedicated to working. Every person has a different capacity.
  5. Work on your self-esteem. If you don't have a healthy level of confidence or if other problems in your life need to be addressed, consider seeking professional help for these issues.
  6. Balance is the key! When it comes to working, focus on finding a balance between your life and your work. That way, you will accomplish more while still having time for yourself, family, friends, hobbies, etc.

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