Being productive is very commendable especially in the world of trade and business. But anything in excess is dangerous including the uncontrolled obsession to work unceasingly. This anomaly is often referred to as workaholic.


It is not sure if there are rehabilitation centres for this kind of addiction since it does not involve the use of any substance of abuse. However, its effect can be just as devastating as any drug-induced addiction because it, too, can ruin its victim’s future.

A person suffering from this problem is called a workaholic. He has the uncontrollable urge to be busy all the time. He does unnecessary tasks only for the sake of completion. Since a workaholic focuses on being busy instead of being productive, he becomes an inefficient worker.

A workaholic finds it difficult working as a team player, has trouble delegating, and does not trust others. Also, he usually suffers from sleep deprivation resulting to impaired brain and cognitive functions.

Just like drug-induced addictions, workaholism tends to develop destructive behaviour, and in extreme cases, may even be fatal. In Japan, they consider it a social problem that leads to early death, often in the job.

To prevent falling victim to this work-related addiction, here are some precautions you should seriously consider:

  • Change your perspective about work. Although you may love so much your work (lucky you), do not make your whole life revolve around it. Reassess your reason for working. Remember that there is no glory in working for the sake of working. You should have a higher purpose for doing the work. Remember that work is a just a means to attain your goals – not your goal in itself. Do not make it the centre of your life no matter how much joy it provides you.
  • Evaluate the importance of each task you do. Apply the Perito’s 20/80 principle. See which ones give you more return to the time you invest in doing them. This will considerably decrease your workload and prevents you from working long hours on time-consuming but non-essential jobs.
  • Learn to decline requests for additional tasks, especially if they cause you to neglect your own responsibilities. As to your own assigned tasks, do not feel obliged to complete on the same day all that you have started today. You can always finish them the following day. This way, you will be more relaxed to work on them more efficiently. In cases when you have started tasks but realize later are not really necessary, do not hesitate to stop and discard them rather than wasting time and effort further.
  • Set a definite working schedule. Plan your activities for the day and work your plan no matter what. Limit your tasks to just couple of important tasks per day. If you still have extra time left, fill it up with minor tasks which you can delay or eliminate altogether if need be. Working on a schedule makes you more productive because it allows you to stay focused on selected tasks and prevents you from over-extending your hours working.
  • Do not aim for perfection. Do your best but accept and be satisfied with what you can accomplish. Go easy on yourself, and accept your limitations. Do not impose unnecessary burden and guilt on yourself if you accomplish a task several rung below perfect. Also, trying to be perfect is often just a guise and justification to procrastinate so assess you real reason carefully.
  • Learn to work smart. Greater productivity does not always equate to working harder or to longer working hours. In fact, working that way may even mean inefficiency. To work smart means is to work less but produce more results while less time. Erlend Bakke’s bestseller “You Will Never Work Again” teaches you how this can be achieved.

Work is a noble thing because it is the backbone of progress. However, if you work just for the sake of working, you turn it to an abominable burden that makes life miserable. Whenever you find yourself over-extending yourself over a task, reassess your reason for doing so. If your reason is not commensurate to the time and effort you spend in doing it, beware! You could be starting to be addicted to your work.