What if I am a bit of a workaholic?

There is a big difference between those who work hard to succeed and what most of us mean by being workaholic. Being successful and getting to the top generally requires extremely focused behaviour where everything is ruthlessly prioritised. But this is precisely what many workaholics fail to do. They have more in common with those who strive for perfection, and are not very good at judging what is important and what isn't.

Workaholic behaviour is not the same as occasionally working hard and beyond the call of duty to get a particular project done well. Workaholics work long hours whether or not stuff needs doing. They will generate work to do, even if there's none that really needs doing.

Workaholic behaviour can be damaging to you, and probably isn't much use to your colleagues or employer either. Workaholics miss deadlines, because they are spending long hours doing the wrong things. They are likely to suffer from stress, and make themselves ill.

If you think you are showing some symptoms of being a workaholic, then you need to take action to change your behaviour. Learn to prioritise. Don't get distracted. Set yourself some rules about when you go home. Take a proper lunch break. Make sure you take other opportunities to get your life in perspective. Think about whether you are putting all your hours and energy into work because there is something wrong with the rest of your life. Sorting that out may be the key to getting your job in perspective. Remember we work to live, not live to work.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.