Every day millions of us go to work. Days can be long, and there are always busy times where we burn the midnight oil. If this is a permanent situation for you, then the chances are you are working at a dangerous, unsustainable level. So, what are the warning signs?
You’re Not Taking Your Allotted Holiday Time
If you find you’re not taking your full holiday time and not really taking a break from work at the weekends you could be a workaholic. This is not good. You could well be facing burnout, and the likelihood of divorce and relationship breakdown increases. From a work perspective, you’re probably becoming more unproductive. World class athletes remain in peak condition by taking rest periods. If you work all the time and never unplug you can’t expect to work to your full potential.
Personal Care has Vanished
If you find your personal care is becoming a distant memory, then it is time to have a long good look in the mirror. Skipping showers, exercise and eating badly to meet deadlines will eventually kill you.
One of the worst things you can do is to skip sleep for work. Here, you are working against yourself and are more likely to exercise poor judgment, decision making and critical thinking. While not taking exercise impairs cognitive function, increases stress and lowers energy levels. Even if you’re doing 80 –100 hour weeks you should still try to make time to look after yourself and your wellbeing.
It isn’t All About Work
Work can feel like everything, and we often define ourselves by our job role, especially at the executive level. This can damage you, as we have seen, and damage your relationships. What you may not realise is that your family and friends see you as more than a technology officer and accountant. They see you for your other qualities that are easy to forget when you’re focused on work. Sometimes, this view can be shaken when tragedy strikes, such as the death of a loved one or birth of a child. Other times, we need to take up an outside interest just to broaden our view.
Relationships are Failing
A sure sign that you are pushing yourself too hard at work is when your relationships go into decline. Around three-quarters of the workforce stated that work stress negatively affected their relationships, while workaholics are twice as likely to get divorced. In many ways, this relates back to personal care. If you want a good life you must have a rounded one, and this includes making time for your relationships and by extension your social life. If left unchecked you may find yourself alone with no social outlets, which will quite literally damage your physical and mental health.
Unable to Switch Off From Work
If you find you’re unable to switch off from work and unplug, the chances are you are working at a dangerous level. Try switching your work phone off at weekends and not checking your email as a starting point to completely unplugging. Maybe take up a hobby and try to spend time with people who don’t want to hear about your job.