The Effects of Being a Workaholic | DCR Workforce Blog

The Effects of Being a Workaholic

Our work is such a huge part of who we are that it practically defines us. As Americans, we have a workforce that is driven, hard working and innovative. On the other hand, we also work too much. A study done by Gallup found that the average full-time adult employee in the US works 47 hours a week. That is nearly one full extra workday.

The term “work/life balance” gets thrown around a lot but at the end of the day, the American workforce is really out of balance – falling more on the side of work, than life. So how do you get your life back and keep your work in check when there’s all this pressure to do so much at work and make a decent living?

We’ll show you. Because the sad part is that if you don’t prioritize your basic needs over your stressful job, you might not be working for very long.

Health is wealth – so don’t blow it!

Your health is supposed to be your wealth. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bankrupt people in the workforce right now. We all work so much that we’re sacrificing a large part of our health. Some of the health problems caused by worker burnout are depression, increased drug and alcohol consumption, cardiovascular problems, stroke, back problems, high blood pressure, eye strain, increased rate of accidents, weight gain, absentmindedness, decreased cognitive functions, insomnia and even suicide. After reading about all these problems, a person who is addicted to work may be tempted to just walk into a hospital and get fully evaluated.

No one ever said, “I wish I spent more time at work.”

After a long day of never-ending work, we not only neglect ourselves but then we hardly get any time to interact with our loved ones. Nowadays, spending time with our families and giving them the love and attention that they deserve has become a non-existent concept. Even sitting together at the dinner table and catching up with everyone is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

With all the strain work addicts put on their families, it comes as no surprise that divorce rates drastically increase with number of hours spent at work. When a family is torn apart because of working too much, the effects are devastating to everyone involved. We not only lose a companion, but the bond with our children becomes severely strained. No job is worth sacrificing so much.

False sense of productivity

Productivity becomes a bit of a joke when you don’t sleep, rest or eat properly. Working long hours is turning people into barely functioning zombies. The more hours you work, the more your productivity decreases. Studies have shown that working 60 hours or more per week can decrease your performance by 25% in white-collar jobs. Being severely burnt out and trying to achieve a high level of productivity is insane. The more hours we all work the more we fall behind so maybe everyone should just take a nap or that vacation we have been postponing and get the rest we so desperately need.

What are you REALLY worth?

Just in case there are a few special people out there who are impervious to stress and burning out, you still won’t be rewarded for all that hard work. Why? The Economic Policy Institute shows a 240% productivity growth between 1948 to 2013, but the wages of workers only grew by 108%. Some of the reasons for this lack of financial gain are outsourcing, companies not sharing their profits and automation eliminating jobs. Sometimes working very hard can mean that you have little to show for it.

Additionally, let’s see how much you really make: Take your salary and divide it by the actual number of hours worked and see how your pay stacks up. For some, this little exercise is an eye-opener.

Change, change, change

Finding real solutions to create a fair balance of work and our lives seems more like wishful thinking. Workers just seem so overwhelmed and they get stuck in just trying to slog through another day. Yet, if they really want to change I think the first step is to start with a look in the mirror. Some tips that I really liked from are:

  • Check emails only three times a day. You can check it once in the morning, then after lunch and finally late afternoon. Also, not all emails need an immediate reply so you can use your time to do other, more important things.
  • Have meetings that are only 30 minutes long. Make everyone stand up to discuss any issues in the meeting so they get to the point. Also, whoever holds the meeting must create an agenda and send it to everyone to keep the meeting from going over.
  • Prioritize tasks by only doing three of the most important things on your to-do list.

By making some small changes now to manage tasks better you’ll take a step in getting your life back.

It’s also important to keep tabs on the company you’re working for. A high turnover of workers mean unfilled positions that require remaining employees to pick up the slack. So you might not be a workaholic, it could be the company forcing additional work on you. Similarly, if your current company is not organized and your workload is becoming too much to handle, you may just want to look for another job.

The effects of being a workaholic can be harmful and destructive. People need to understand that work has a set place in our lives and can’t consume all of our time and energy. Everyone works so hard because we want to be prosperous and successful but there are other things in life that have greater value than money and your career. We have to take care of ourselves and be there for our loved ones. Otherwise, we won’t find the happiness and fulfillment that we need to be healthy.

Are you addicted to work? How do you deal with the pressures that come from being a workaholic? What do you do to find balance?

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Preeta is a writer and a mom who writes about topics that strive to connect with readers in a real way.