Are you spending more and more time at the office? Has this behavior increased over the past six months to a year? Do you think \u2013 or suspect \u2013 that you may be a workaholic? This is no joking matter, for a true workaholic is headed for some potentially serious physical and psychological problems. How do you know for sure if you are a workaholic?\r\n20 Questions\r\nHere are 20 questions adapted from Workaholics Anonymous. Answer them honestly \u2013 no holding back \u2013 and we\u2019ll go from there. \u2022 Work is exciting \u2013 Do you find that work gets you more excited than family, friends, hobbies, entertainment, sports or anything else? \u2022 Pace may overwhelm you \u2013 Have you found that there are times when you can easily breeze through your workload and other times when you just can\u2019t seem to make it through? \u2022 Taking work home \u2013 Do you often take your work home with you, or to bed, work on weekends or on vacation? \u2022 Like work best \u2013 Do you like to talk about work the best and enjoy work more than any other activity? \u2022 Hours per week \u2013 Do you work more than 40 hours per week? \u2022 Work and hobbies \u2013 Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures? \u2022 Responsibility \u2013 Do you take complete responsibility for all of your work output? \u2022 Never home on time \u2013 Are you often late coming home due to your workload? Has your family given up on expecting you home on time because of it? \u2022 Take on extra work \u2013 Do you take on extra assignments or projects because you\u2019re afraid they won\u2019t get done \u2013 or won\u2019t get done the right way? \u2022 Underestimate timing \u2013 Do you underestimate the total amount of time your work projects or assignments \u2013 and then rush to complete it under deadline? \u2022 Justify long hours \u2013 Do you believe it is okay to work as long as you do because you love your work? \u2022 Impatience with others \u2013 Do you find yourself impatient with others who have other priorities beside work? \u2022 Fear of losing job \u2013 Do you fear that you will lose your job or be considered a failure if you don\u2019t work at your current hard pace? \u2022 Worry about the future \u2013 Even though things may be going well for you right now, are you constantly worried about the future? \u2022 Competitiveness \u2013 Do you do everything with the same energy, intensity and competitiveness \u2013 including play? \u2022 Irritation \u2013 Do you become irritated when others \u2013 like the family, friends or others - ask you to stop working in order to do something else? \u2022 Relationships suffer \u2013 Have your close relationships \u2013 with family, friends and others \u2013 suffered as a result of your long hours at work? \u2022 Constantly thinking about work \u2013 Do you find yourself thinking about work while you are driving, when others are talking, and even when you are falling asleep? \u2022 Work during meals \u2013 Do you read or do work while you are eating? \u2022 Money solves problems \u2013 Do you believe that if you had more money, it could solve all your other problems \u2013 or that money solves just about any problems? According to Workaholics Anonymous, if you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions, you may be a workaholic. Don\u2019t panic. There are millions of Americans out there who are in the same situation. More important than the fact that you are, or are quickly becoming, a workaholic is what you can do about it.\r\nCharacteristics of a Workaholic\r\nPerhaps you need a bit more convincing that you may, indeed, have just a little problem with overworking. There is a big difference between a hard worker and a workaholic. Essentially, the hard worker dreams about skiing on the slopes or that island vacation while working whereas the workaholic dreams about work while supposedly on the slopes or that island vacation. Here are some classic characteristics of a workaholic. Again, these are adapted from Workaholics Anonymous. \u2022 Workaholics can\u2019t relax. \u2013 They might say they\u2019re relaxed. At least, that\u2019s what they\u2019ll tell family and friends. But they really can\u2019t let go, finding it difficult, if not impossible, to relax. After just one more project, crossing off one more item on today\u2019s work list, then you\u2019ll be able to relax. But there\u2019s always another task or project that you really should get a jump on. After all, the deadline\u2019s close. This results in an uncontrollable urge to do more, working faster, harder. You absolutely can\u2019t stop \u2013 to the point of feeling powerless. \u2022 Workaholics have become accustomed to doing what they\u2019re expected. \u2013 For so long, the workaholic has been doing what the boss or others expect that he or she has no idea anymore what should be done for themselves. Workaholics can\u2019t distinguish what they really want and need, submersing everything in their job. \u2022 Workaholics feel compelled to complete certain tasks. \u2013 You might be too scared not to finish the projection report by closing time today. Or you hate the thought of having to get it done, but you\u2019ll do it anyway \u2013 because that\u2019s who you are and that\u2019s what you always do. \u2022 Workaholics often feel resentment. \u2013 Just because you have a tough assignment doesn\u2019t mean you want to do it, or want to do it now \u2013 instead of going out to play golf or hang out with your friends. You feel resentment and maybe put it off for most of the day for one reason or another. It\u2019s still there at the end of the day, waiting for you to get started. You hate that you let it go so long, and now you really have to dive in. So much for getting away for a while. And the resentment continues to build each day with each project\u2026 \u2022 Workaholics\u2019 self-esteem is tied to job performance. \u2013 So much of who you are \u2013 who you think you are \u2013 is tied up in your job performance. As a workaholic, you can\u2019t differentiate your true talents from those that others say you have, or that attributes your boss extols \u2013 \u201cI can always count on Bob to get the job done! He\u2019s my best worker \u2013 really puts in the hours.\u201d Right, good old Bob, who begins to believe he\u2019s nothing other the job he does day after day after day. \u2022 Workaholics have a distorted self image. \u2013 You either believe you are the most intelligent and capable person you know \u2013 or that you\u2019re more worthless and incapable than anyone else. \u2022 Workaholics are unable to accept themselves. \u2013 You can\u2019t accept who you really are, since you can\u2019t honestly say who that is. Since you can\u2019t see your true self, you can\u2019t know it. \u2022 Workaholics are slaves to \u201cauthority.\u201d \u2013 Anyone with a title has power over you, if you\u2019re a workaholic. You feel compelled to do whatever task or assignment they throw your way \u2013 even if they\u2019re not your direct supervisor. This is a betrayal of your own self-worth, since you constantly give in to the demands of others. \u2022 Workaholics are always in \u201cmini-crisis\u201d mode. \u2013 By constantly operating as if this project is a mini crisis, you stave off any true emotions. You\u2019re always on maximum overdrive \u2013 can\u2019t afford to let emotions surface and slow your progress. \u2022 Workaholics rarely experience serenity. \u2013 There\u2019s no moment to just \u201cbe\u201d for the workaholic. They cannot allow any idle moments, therefore there\u2019s never an opportunity to experience serenity. \u2022 Workaholics have to understand the why and what of everything. Every part of their lives has to be understood by the workaholic. This extends even to feelings of emotion \u2013 such as exist, anyway. The workaholic can\u2019t allow stray emotions to crop up. These are threatening to the workaholic, since they may presage loss of control. \u2022 Workaholics fear emotion and loss of control. \u2013 The obsessive addiction to work covers a very real fear of emotion and loss of control. To lose control and be emotional means, to the workaholic, that they may lose total control and wind up a raving maniac. \u2022 Workaholics judge themselves by their accomplishments. \u2013 A workaholic always has to be in the state of doing, of accomplishing some task or project that they deem worthwhile, in order to feel good. They are what they do, nothing more and nothing less. \u2022 Workaholics can\u2019t be idle. \u2013 You won\u2019t find a workaholic just sitting on a beach watching the sunset. He or she would be on the laptop, PDA, cell phone or WiFi. \u2022 Workaholics often go on excessive work binges. \u2013 To win praise from others or to achieve a certain level of recognition, workaholics often push themselves in an excess amount of workload. \u2022 Workaholics believe others will like them more if they accomplish more. \u2013 Again, the workaholic\u2019s self-esteem is all tied up with their work output. If only they could get more done, others would like them more and want to be with them \u2013 or mention their hard work in a positive light to the boss. \u2022 Workaholics often cannot accept praise as justified. \u2013 Despite the fact that the workaholic pushes himself to overachieve, he cannot accept the praise he gets as justified. He didn\u2019t really work that hard, or the other person is just shining him on and doesn\u2019t mean it. \u2022 Workaholics pile up more work than they can handle. \u2013 The more jobs, projects or tasks the workaholic has on their plate, the more they look to add. Having an excessive workload and being known as one who will always perform may make others like the workaholic more. \u2022 Workaholics are dishonest about past performances. \u2013 Any mistakes or shortcomings are glossed over by the workaholic, who also tends to exaggerate successful accomplishments. Without a stellar background, others may not like us. \u2022 Workaholics feel pain. \u2013 Deep inside, sometimes not even recognized as such, the workaholic feels pain. They hurt, and it doesn\u2019t ever get any better.\r\nWhat Can Be Done\r\nThere\u2019s no question that accomplishment and recognition are heralded in society today. It seems as though the workplace is crowded with perfectionists and overachievers \u2013 and they\u2019re the ones who snag the promotions, the bonuses (if companies still pay them), and the best perks. Ask yourself this, however: Are they truly happy? Is this who you want to be \u2013 a shell of yourself, gray before your time, ashen in color, lifeless, chained to your desk, bereft of family and friends? Nobody in their right mind would answer yes. Yet you do have a big hurdle to overcome. How do you begin to change habits that have become so much a part of your life? There are several steps you can take, depending on your comfort level. \u2022 Seek treatment \u2013 This can take the form of a resident treatment program at a posh and exclusive enclave catering to executives. Or it can be a matter of seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist or a trained and certified mental health professional. \u2022 Check out Workaholics Anonymous \u2013 This national support group is modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. Meetings are held around the country where people can share their concerns anonymously and receive support from other members of the group. There\u2019s no membership fee and anyone can join. Meetings can be in-person, online and by telephone. Check out W.A. Meetings to find a location or schedule a meeting that works best for you. If you\u2019re not ready for meetings yet, the website has plenty of useful resources, links and other information that may be of help. \u2022 Give yourself time \u2013 Your workaholic habits developed over time. It\u2019s important that you give yourself enough time to work through and overcome them.