How many of these statements apply to you? –
- You think of how you can free up more time to work
- You spend much more time working than initially intended
- You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and/or depression
- You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them
- You become stressed if you are prohibited from working
- You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and/or exercise because of your work
- You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health
According to new research by the University of Bergen in Norway, if you replied ‘often’ or ‘always’ to at least four of these seven criteria, there is some indication you may be a workaholic.
Its study into ‘work addiction’ also concluded that 8.3 percent of all Norwegians are addicted to work – something I find surprising because I always assumed the Scandinavian countries had one of the best work/life balances.
I used to work closely with a client based in Sweden (Norway’s neighbor) – and while my peers were hard-working, they believed in the importance of taking time out, too – enjoying long summers away from the office (sometimes lasting weeks), daily ‘fika’ breaks (coffee and a chat with peers) and probably the most generous maternity/paternity laws in the world.
This ‘time out’ didn’t affect their ability to achieve their annual goals. They achieved a lot of success year-on-year.
I imagine a similar study in the States would yield a higher percentage of work addicts. A recent Glassdoor survey reported that only 25 percent of American workers use all their vacation-day allotment. More than three-quarters of those who find something difficult about taking vacations said the dreaded first day back in the office was their main deterrent.
I’ve always been hard-working and my clients’ happiness is so important to me. Yet, I also believe in the importance of having a break – in fact, countless studies show it improves work productivity. I want to pull my hair out whenever I see the U.S. President or British Prime Minister being blasted for taking a vacation in the news. Everyone deserves a break, especially if you’re in charge of a country. That must be stressful at times.
If you’re a work addict, I urge you to take some time out to restore. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a vacation – it could be a weekly yoga or meditation class, a regular walk in the park or a glass of wine with your best friend.