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Time management - Workaholic


We have all heard of the term ‘workaholic’ and it is usually used in a derogatory manner.
We tend to think that there is a limit to ‘working hard’ and once you cross that limit it is bad for you.

No one seems to want to be considered a workaholic. It has connotations of a person not knowing where he is going and working for the sake of it.

Long hours of work

It is usually characterised by long hours of work. Coming in at the weekend to catch up; a person willing to put in the extra time when asked as if they have nothing better to do with their time. Working long hours is not always a bad thing if it is linked with goals and smaller objectives.

Many people will work long hours because they have to, for personal and family reasons. Others will need to in order to achieve focussed goals.
There is a purpose in their personal strategies.

In the case of the workaholic there is often no apparent reason for the extra hours. Working long hours may well bring you to the attention of the boss but for the wrong reasons.
Senior managers will be looking for results and not just effort.
They are interested in ‘productivity’.

As workaholics get to the middle of their careers they may end up working on irrelevant areas and become too detailed in their approach.

Work enjoyment

I suppose the workaholic will have a lot of difficulty in recognising the problem within his or herself. Challenging them will often result in a statement that they ‘enjoy their work’. This may be the case but are they affecting others in their actions? Their family may think so and their boss may not be overjoyed if the output of all this hard work isn’t what he / she is after.


Many will consider that long hours will catch the eye of senior management.
Unfortunately, quite a few senior managers are also workaholics and have the attitude that ‘if I’m here till 10 pm I expect my staff to do the same’.

You will get better opportunities for promotion (both in house and elsewhere) if you can show that you produce results and not just that you put in long hours. Don’t let ambition alone get in the way of a well planned career.

Personal life

It goes without saying that long hours can have a dramatic effect on your family life.
This is rarely, if ever, a good thing. When considering goals and plans (later) you will need to focus on business and personal issues.

Routine and mundane

The workaholic often gets bogged down in routine and mundane tasks. He gets wrapped up in detail and never seems to have time.
In particular, he will find it difficult to think strategically or creatively. To get beyond middle management positions you will need to create time to think strategically.


The workaholic is addicted to work. He / she is not result focused. Whilst hard work and long hours has its place it does not paper over any cracks in producing results.

Result orientation

As we have said above results are paramount. Productivity is what managers want but this is linked to clear goals and objectives.

Old values

People believe, quite rightly, that virtues of dedication, company loyalty and a show of commitment are highly valued. However, few senior managers will promote unless that person exhibits other qualities that will produce the results they are looking for.
It is no longer enough to demonstrate these values by working long hours.

If work hours end at 5.00 pm why not leave then? You can if you produce what you are supposed to.

Tiredness and mistakes

Working long hours will lead to physical and mental exhaustion. This will ultimately lead to a lowering of performance (necessitating even longer hours to catch up) and induce mistakes.


The first step to some sort of recovery is recognition.

  • Do you daydream about things that you never get around to?
  • Do you have little time for fun things?
  • Is your job the centre of your life?
  • Do you take work home?
  • Do you set yourself difficult goals and expect the same of others?
  • Are you exhausted at home?
  • Do you work on holiday?
  • Do you argue with your family about non productive activities?
  • Do you work long hours and are you happy to take on the challenge of additional work?

If you recognise these sort of traits in yourself you might be a candidate for becoming a workaholic.

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