In the current world of work, it’s arguably never been easier to become addicted to your job.

This is particularly true if you own your business, as your identity can quickly become tied up with the success of your endeavour.

Homeworking during the pandemic has no doubt accelerated this trend, making many people feel like they’re living at work, encouraging them to continue working way beyond normal business hours.

The trouble is that this kind of addiction can be bad for you. You may find yourself giving up on family or social time, and being addicted to your role could even potentially have a detrimental effect on your physical health.

As a business owner, it can also become an issue for your staff as they may feel you expect them to share your standards, too.

If you think you may be a workaholic then it’s important for your health and wellbeing to recognise the signs within yourself. Then, just as with any other addiction, the key is finding ways to manage it.

So, here are five signs that you might be a workaholic, as well as some tips on what to do if it sounds like you.

1. You’re anxious and stressed about work all the time

The first and most common sign of being a workaholic is that you’re anxious and stressed all the time about the things that need doing at work.

You may find yourself concerned about cash flow while you’re trying to cook dinner or worrying about business protection when you’re trying to go to sleep.

Not only are these feelings unpleasant, but they can stop you from being present in your own life.

What to do about it

While this is certainly the first sign, it’s also potentially the hardest one to tackle because it requires a great deal of reframing to solve your issues.

If you’re struggling with work-related stress and anxiety, try to prioritise the tasks that seem to be on your mind. That way, you can help to alleviate your concerns, hopefully giving you extra headspace away from work.

Of course, some things cannot be solved instantaneously, so you may also need to learn to let go, too. Consider mindfulness techniques or potentially even counselling if you constantly feel this way.

2. You’re the first in the office and the last to leave

It’s by no means a bad thing to be dedicated to your work and putting in the hours to prove it. The trouble is that this is a direct path towards work addiction.

That’s why the second sign that you’re a workaholic is your working hours. Simply, if you’re the first in the office every morning and the last to leave every evening, it’s possible that you’re addicted to work.

In turn, this can affect your staff, who may feel under pressure to work similar hours to you, as that’s seemingly your expectation.

What to do about it

The easiest way to fix this issue is to set regular working hours for yourself and the business that give you enough time to do your work but also give you space for your social life.

This doesn’t have to be the classic nine to five, but rather whatever window of time works for you.

The key thing is to keep it regular and clear so that you and everyone in your business knows what’s expected of them.

Famously, taken from an essay published in The Economist in 1955, Parkinson’s law dictates that work expands to fill the allotted time.

So, not only can this help to create a better environment for you and your staff, but you should also see the same level of productivity, too.

3. You’re always contactable at work

Communication has become a problem over time, as improvements in technology have made most workers constantly contactable through email or instant messaging.

This situation has become even more dire during lockdown, as employers now know that workers are at home and available most of the time.

Constantly checking and responding to emails and messages is another sign that you could be a workaholic. It means that, even if you’re not physically in the office or at your desk, your mind is still at work.

What to do about it

This is probably the easiest thing to fix if it affects you. Simply turn off your work phone, or mute instant messages and emails during non-working hours.

If you can’t help checking them then, at the very least, try not to respond until you’re back within working hours. This helps to create a bit of separation between work and home life.

You could even implement the “right to disconnect” rule that’s now come into effect in Portugal, committing to never contacting employees outside of business hours.

At the very least, if you own your business, this gives your staff the space away from the office, even if you don’t always give it to yourself.

4. You never schedule any downtime for yourself

Another sign that you may be a workaholic is if you find that you never have any downtime.

This includes working through breaks or your lunch hour, working in the evening after normal business hours, or simply not taking holidays.

Having time off from work is important, as it gives you the space to decompress. So, if you’re not taking it, you may need to reconsider whether your relationship with your work is healthy.

What to do about it

Once again, this is quite an easy thing to fix. Even if it feels like you have work to do, make sure you schedule in regular breaks, a daily lunch hour, and holiday time when you don’t think about work at all.

5. You sacrifice your personal life for work

Have you ever missed an important family event because you were at work? Or perhaps your friends have asked you where you’ve been because they haven’t seen you in a while?

Maybe you’ve even stopped doing a hobby because you feel like you don’t have time to alongside your work?

Whatever it is, if you’ve skipped a family or social event because you felt you needed to work, this could be a sign that you’re a workaholic.

What to do about it

Work is obviously important, but social time with family and friends is just as vital to your overall wellbeing, so this is a case of setting your priorities.

No matter what’s going on at the office, always try to treat your family and friends as your focus.

Doing this can also help to provide a bit of space between you and work, creating a healthier overall work-life balance.

Work with us

Even if you’re stressed at work, one thing you should never be stressed about is your money.

If you’d like help managing your finances even more effectively, please get in touch with us at LightSide Financial Planning.

Email or call 0151 372 0161 to find out more.