There is a clear difference between enthusiastic, energetic work toward a highly valued goal and workaholism. That difference lies primarily in the emotional quality of the hours spent. Workaholism has a treadmill, joyless quality, not the bouncy, fun energy of a trampoline. And while working long, hard hours may help you accomplish a primary work goal, it likely will leave other areas of your life—family, friendship, intellectual stimulation, etc.—in shambles.
“Workaholism is an addiction,” Julia Cameron says in her book, The Artist’s Way, “and like all addictions, it blocks creative energy.” Take the following quiz, adapted from Cameron’s book, to help you figure out if you have workaholic habits. Even better, ask a few members of your family, or a few friends, to answer these questions for you. You may be surprised by what you discover.
- I work beyond normal office hours
- I cancel dates with friends or family members to do more work
- I postpone outings until my deadline project is done
- I take work with me on vacation
- I take my laptop with me on vacations
- I take work home with me on weekends
- I rarely or never take vacations
- My family and/or friends complain that I always work
- I seldom allow myself free time between projects
- It’s a challenge for me to finish tasks
- Procrastination often keeps me working longer
- I set out to do one job and start on three more at the same time
- I work in the evenings during family time or time I could be reading for pleasure
- I allow calls and email to interrupt—and lengthen—my workday
- I don’t make time for creative work/play a priority in my day
- Work always comes before my creative dreams
- I always take calls on my cell phone; it is never off
- I rarely allow myself down time to do nothing
- I use the word “deadline” to describe and rationalize my workload
- I often take a notebook or my work numbers with me when I go somewhere, even to dinner
If you answered more true than false, you may benefit from exploring your attachment to work. For people with workaholic tendencies, work is often synonymous with worth, so the more the better. Work can also be a way to avoid looking at issues in your life—“Who’s got the time?” the workaholic asks. If you would like assistance fighting your workaholic streak, please don’t hesitate to call.
Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications