Insurance 3 October 2017

Six signs that you’re a functioning workaholic

Busy businessman
An addiction to work can be detrimental to your mental and physical health

Being a workaholic can have a very damaging effect on your friends, family and colleagues. Here, management and leadership coach, Margo Manning, reveals six traits that show whether you or your colleague could be a workaholic.

Just as the name suggests, a workaholic is always looking for its next fix, whether this is a new project, another sale or their next promotion. The following six traits are common to most workaholics.

(1) Excuses, excuses, excuses

A classic trait of functioning workaholics is to cover their obsession behind excuses. Comments such as “just one more email and then I will go home” or “I just need to speak to John and then I will head home’”are common, but this is never the case. They end up staying at work longer than they should, allowing their personal relationships to suffer because of it.

(2) Work is always on their mind

Work is often the last thing they think about at night and the first thing they think about when they wake up. Signs include grabbing their work phone as soon as they wake up to check what emails and appointments have come through during the night, when realistically, this can wait until they reach the office.

(3) An inability to tear themselves away from their phones

Similar to an alcoholic who can’t pull themselves away from the pub, workaholics may well miss family events and special occasions because they are “too busy in the office”.

If they do attend, they are likely to have their phone in hand, awaiting calls and email. The workaholic is likely to be completely unaware of what’s going on around them.

(4) They will appear to be busy all the time

Running late for meetings they had planned weeks in advance, looking at their phones during said meetings and cancelling one-to-ones with team members all give the impression of an extremely busy person.

However, it just demonstrates the person is unable to plan and take time to evaluate what’s going on in the business around them. Instead, they are always looking for what they can get their teeth stuck into next.

(5) They work hard but achieve very little

Having a busy schedule and being productive are two very different things. Anyone can make themselves feel busy by arranging unnecessary meetings and aiming to complete all tasks. They waste a lot of time and energy on these tasks.

Instead, the workaholic should take a moment to sit back, evaluate what needs to be done and think about the most efficient way of achieving it. They will rarely assess the quality of their work and the impact it makes of the business as a whole –  a jack of all trades, master of none.

(6) They will eventually burnout

Lastly, and perhaps the most detrimental aspect of a functioning workaholic is that they will inevitably burnout. No one can sustain such a fast pace of working, for so many hours of the day without it leading to a total burnout.

More often than not, the team member will take casualties with them, causing secondary effects on the organisation. If you yourself, or someone in your team at work shows signs of being a functioning workaholic, it’s time to change.

Being addicted to work is detrimental for your mental and physical health as you are likely to put yourself under increased stress and anxiety for no return. It is also sure to have an impact on your personal life due to the lack of quality time you are spending in this area.

Lastly, being a functioning workaholic is likely to have an impact on your career. Although you may seem busy, your productivity levels will be low and this way of working simply can’t be sustained.  You will ultimately be measured on your outputs.  Something needs to change.

Margo Manning is a leadership coach and author of The Step Up Mindset for New Managers

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