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December 13, 2007

Are You A Workaholic?

By Amanda Rice

In a bid to prove ourselves at work and as women, we sometimes bite off more than we can chew at work, and find ourselves spending up to 12 hours a day at the office.

Have we become workaholics? Are we so obsessed with making our mark in the professional world that we’re willing to sacrifice our personal lives and valuable sleep for it?

Unfortunately, the answer to every question is a big old “yes.” Many women nowadays are self-professed workaholics

What is a workaholic?

A workaholic lives for their work and spends the time they’re not working thinking about work. They thrive on multiple projects and deadlines, and usually do not have time for much else in their lives.

Why are you a workaholic?

Nowadays, companies use half the employees to complete double the amount of work. So it’s possible that you weren’t a workaholic to begin with, but slowly became one when the workload began to increase.

As well, technology keeps us connected at all times. Whether it’s your cell phone, email, fax machine, or instant messaging, there’s always a way for your colleagues or boss to get a hold of you. And if you’re always updated on what work needs to be completed, then you always feel compelled to work.

Finally, money is also a factor. The harder you work, the bigger your paycheck and the greater your chance for a promotion. And society has never been as materialistic as it is today.

Will your workaholic ways cause burnout?

Do you think that all the work-related stress and long hours are taking their toll on you? Of course they are and unless you take a breather, there’s a good chance that you’ll be headed for an early grave.

Without taking a 3-week vacation and heading off to the Cayman Islands, here’s how you can start taking small steps to break away from your workaholic habits without having withdrawal symptoms.

Workaholic break tip #1
Create a backup
Some people thrive on the fact that no one else knows how to do their job, but that may serve to be a very bad thing when there’s a personal emergency and no one at work can fill your duties.

It’s time to start sharing your knowledge by training others to fulfill some of your dire tasks, should you need to, oh I don’t know, take a vacation and clear your head.

Workaholic break tip #2
Take mini breaks
Instead of heading out for 14 days of fun and sun (you’ll probably go crazy anyway), why not take mini breaks every now and then?

Take a day off from work to do some of the things you always complain you have no time for. Or finish your Fridays early and head out for a late lunch with a girl friend that you haven’t seen in ages.

These little breaks will help you focus on other important aspects of your life without your actually having to sacrifice your professional career.

Workaholic break tip #3
Delegate to others

You are not superwoman nor do you have to be; it’s time you started passing some of your tasks off to other people at work. It’s okay that you’re not able to do everything.

If you’re in the midst of closing a huge deal but there’s a boatload of paperwork that needs to be filed, don’t do it yourself. Ask for help, most colleagues would be more than glad to lend a hand.

Workaholic break tip #4
Call home when you can

It may sound menial, but if you get a few minutes of peace and quiet, take the time to call someone in your personal life and see what’s going on.

Whether it’s your boyfriend, your mom, your best friend, or a relative, calling someone for a minute to see how they are will not only make them feel great, it’ll also help you touch base with the other side of your life.

Workaholic break tip #5
Women who work all hours tend to be quite stressed out most of the time. In order to relieve some of that stress and hopefully get a good night’s sleep, head to the gym.

Exercise releases endorphins and there’s no doubt you need to release these feel good chemicals in your brain in order to relax in the evening and think about something other than work.

Curb the workaholic in you

Overworking yourself will not help you in any way because you’ll end up feeling burnt out and you won’t have the ability to maintain the same level of creativity for years on end.

Taking some time off may help you rejuvenate your thinking process and return to work with a new vigor and perspective. Try it, you might just like it.

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