Are you a workaholic?

Weekends are usually days of rest but for workaholics the day of rest never comes. There is always unfinished work; one more email to read and one more phone call to make that simply can’t wait until Monday.

Ask yourself this; “If your business was like a Formula 1 pit team – how successful do you think you would be? Would you be the team manager calmly orchestrating the events from the safety of the pit wall, directing others or would you be the one running around doing every job trying to make sure it’s done well, getting in everybody’s way but feeling good about yourself because you’re always busy. Then, does the car still go out late and with only three wheels?”

A common problem facing families is an absent husband or wife and dad or mom due to ‘workaholism’. Often, to workaholics business is all about busyness. While we all know in theory that it’s less time-consuming to work smarter rather than harder, the reality is we tend not to practise it.

Here are the signs of a Workaholic:
• Your laptop goes on holiday with you.
• You can’t turn your cell phone off at night or on the weekends for fear of what you might miss
• You struggle to sleep at night because you mind is turning over like the engine of a Formula 1 car
• You don’t feel well, but a sick day in bed is not negotiable
• You start things but leave them unfinished
• You working late at night and/or during the weekends
• You pray the clock hands will start to go in reverse
• You stand accused of not listening to other people
• Even though the business is mature enough to employ staff, you are convinced you can do it quicker and better.

When people start a business, there’s a real buzz from working for themselves and getting things off the ground. They run on high amounts of adrenaline, pumped up, working long hours and overcoming great challenges. Their destiny is in their own hands and they set off with a dream that inspires them. Every win they make imprints on their subconscious mind linking working hard with success. In the early stages, new business owners have to work hard because there’s nobody else to do the work if they don’t. All of these factors tend to breed the workaholic.

Just like an alcoholic, business owners keep doing what they know is bad for them. The last person to realise what is happening is the person with the problem. Just like an alcoholic, it’s the people around them – their families that suffer the most. They get neglected, friends become acquaintances and their staff members—if they have any—are often driven away if they too aren’t workaholics.

The signs are quite clear as I mentioned above but if you need help to see them ask someone else who’s close to you to be brutally honest.

So if you are a workaholic, what can you do? The steps are similar to addressing any addiction. The first step is to become aware that you are a workaholic. If you are, then repeat after me: “My name is ‘so and so’ and I am a workaholic”.

Once you have accepted you have a problem, take ownership of the situation. Realise that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you always got – an unbalanced existence.

It takes 21 days to create a good habit and the longer you have been a workaholic, the longer it will take you to change your bad habits.

Get clear on what type of life you want to lead. Ask yourself how many hours per day, days per week and weeks per year you want to work. Plan out what needs to happen each quarter in order to reduce your work hours. Work out what you would rather be doing instead of working all the time? This is really important because if you don’t have something you like better, you will continue working 24/7 and eventually burn out. Then start putting staff in place and delegating so that eventually you are working on the business and not in the business.