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November 14, 2011 / mike54martin

Workaholic…. But I’m Working On It!!!


So are you a workaholic?  The basic self-test for a problem is that if you think you have a problem, then you probably do. So what can you do about being a workaholic? The obvious answer is to work less but if it was as easy as that you would have already done it. Wouldn’t you? The first step after admitting that you have a problem is to tell someone else and then ask for help.

This help can range from the very informal like talking to a trusted family member or friend, to the very formal of joining a self-help group like Workaholics Anonymous. Yes, there is a twelve step program for workaholics. There are many other options in between.

If you feel comfortable you should start with the persons closest to you at work and open up a discussion with your supervisor or manager about how you are feeling around work and that you want to find a way to slow down. They might have some suggestions to make and they might also suggest that you talk to HR or someone in the Employee Assistance Program if you have one at work. These programs are always confidential and can provide a great outlet to just talk things over.

If you are not comfortable raising this issue at your workplace there are lots of other ways to deal with your situation. You can research the Internet or visit your local library to get suggestions and information sources. Workaholics are often so busy that they don’t have time to read so perhaps this is the first break that you make with your workaholism. Read a book. It may not matter which book it is but maybe find one that helps you slow down and learn to take it a little easier.

You may or may not want to involve a professional coach or mentor in this process but you will definitely need a friend. Use one that you can absolutely trust and ask them to help you. They will likely already know that you have a problem and be happy to help. Use them as your accountability measure and tell them all about your plans to slow down at work and break your old habits. Then put your plan into place.

Start your plan slowly, maybe by making a commitment not to work every weekend and you can always add to your plan as you go along. Tell your boss that you will not be able to work any more than a fixed number of hours, any amount less than what you already do would be an improvement. Call your family and make plans to get together since they likely haven’t seen you for a while. Finally take a deep breath and try to relax. You can do this.

When you think about working more remember the quote by Agatha Christie who turned to writing mysteries because…..“I didn’t want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.”


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  1. Doreen Pendgracs / Nov 14 2011 4:06 pm

    Hi Mike: I can honestly say I am NOT a workaholic. I only work when I absolutely HAVE to get things done.

    Fortunately, my work (writing) is really not like work, so in that sense, I’m like Agatha Christie!

    My 1st husband was a workaholic, and when I asked him to choose between me and his business, well … he did. And it wasn’t me! Some things are for the best, and we both went on to happily create new lives for ourselves. His, with a large focus on work. Mine with a large focus on enjoying life.

    Cheers, and may you enjoy every day to the fullest. You never know when it’s going to be your last!

  2. Catarina / Nov 14 2011 4:09 pm

    If you work with what you are passionate about it’s absolutely fine to be a workaholic. Have done that all my life so that puts me in a different category. There is a fine line, if any between private life and work.

  3. Kitty Kilian / Nov 14 2011 4:47 pm

    Great pic at the top! Where have the subheadings gone?
    Sound advice, although most alcoholics might not take it 😉

    • mike54martin / Nov 14 2011 10:01 pm

      Did you see my pic near the end? Or maybe you didn’t read the whole post. lol

  4. jaynalocke / Nov 14 2011 9:12 pm

    I am afraid I may fall into that category! At least for the time being. I go through phases, especially when I’m really working to build a particular aspect of my business. So it’s good to think about these things. Mainly I try to remind myself that balance is achievable and healthy, and that there is no way to accomplish everything on your to-do list in any given day, so you may as well stop and smell the roses!

  5. Vincent Tricomi (@PFIDisplays) / Nov 16 2011 2:44 pm

    I think I have a complex version of this: I’m a workaholic, but I love it! Sounds demented, right?

    Don’t get me wrong, work is stressful, challenging, and more. But it also gives a sense of accomplishment. Maybe it’s because I work at a small business, but the more I work, the more impact I witness: new jobs, new projects, etc. Even when I worked in the Fortune 500 world, though, I could see and feel the impact of certain initiatives.

    So…the first step is admitting you have a problem??? 🙂

  6. Alexis / Nov 16 2011 2:54 pm

    Great advice Mike. I find that balance is the key to life. When you can schedule in the relax or play time on a regular basis, the efficiency of your work and the quality of your life improve drastically. Also dealing with whatever it is you are running away from is a good idea too. That’s why your advice to get a coach or mentor is excellent. Usually any type of “aholic” is running away from some harsh reality, which is why they become addicted to their vice of choice. Work is no exception, and getting the proper guidance to heal all old wounds and become more whole is definitely the way to go. Great article. 🙂

  7. Susan Oakes / Nov 22 2011 6:25 am

    Your advice is great Mike. Like Doreen I am not a workaholic as I have always thought a balance brings out the best. That said if something needed to be done when I was an employee or now as a small business owner then I just do it regardless of the time. It reminds me when our city was up for for the 2000 Olympics. I had to finish a presentation and the computer had crashed the day before. So at 4.30 in the morning typing away all I could hear was the cheering outside the office that we had won the Olympics bid.

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