Are you a workaholic?

Office at night
By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

28 May 2018

While hard work and dedication are admirable, workaholism can be a dangerous trait adding unnecessary pressure to your life. Read about the seven signs and ways to change behaviours.

The constant connection of technology makes it harder to switch off out of hours. This culture has led to a rise in the number of 'workaholics' - those who feel compelled to be working at all times, even to the point of missing out on the social and leisure activities that may help them find balance.

The Bergen Work Addiction Scale (BWAS) outlines seven criteria to assess the level of work addiction you may suffer from.

1. You think of how you can free up more time to work.

Do you eat at your desk so you can keep working through lunch? Have you cancelled plans because you want to get something done outside of hours?

2. You spend much more time working than initially intended.

How strict are you about your working hours? Do others need to encourage you to go home? Are you always the first to arrive and last to leave?

3. You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.

Does work feel like a welcome distraction from negative thoughts and feelings?

4. You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.

Perhaps a manager has approached you about delegating some work or suggested you clear some things from your plate? Is a colleague concerned by how much more you seem to be doing?

5. You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.

Does a slow internet connection feel like the worst thing that's happened all week? Do outside factors like a delayed commute or over-long meeting make you worried and emotional?

6. You deprioritise hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise because of your work.

How often do you take time to relax? When did you last see friends outside of work or do something just for fun?

7. You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

Do you feel constantly tired? Maybe you get headaches or have a poor appetite? Eye strain and back problems from desk work might also be signs you spend too much time in one place.

If you find yourself adhering to four or more of these criteria on a regular basis, consider some of these tips to get a better work-life balance:

  • Make plans to socialise, exercise or run errands after work so you have a reason to leave.
  • Commit to only checking email during normal working hours.
  • Find a new hobby that helps relieve stress and requires regular engagement.
  • Adopt a more mindful lifestyle - try meditation and healthy eating.


  • CA Student blog

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