Workaholism - 10 tips to help you survive

Workaholism - an unhealthy inability to stop working - is becoming commoner and commoner. It's usually caused by a long standing feeling of inadequacy. Some workaholics push themselves too hard because they are frightened of something: usually failure or poverty. But many simply feel the need to prove themselves better than anyone else.

If work is ruining your health it isn't too late to protect yourself.

First ask yourself these simple questions:

1. Are you always busy?
2. Do you feel constantly under pressure?
3. Do you wish you had more time for yourself?
4. Do you find it difficult to relax?
5. Are you unwilling to take a holiday - even though you need one?
6. Do you have difficulty in sleeping?
7. Do you work at evenings and weekends?
8. Do you snatch meals while you work?
9. Do you ever wake up at night thinking about work or money?
10. Do you find it difficult to slow your mind down?

If you have answered YES to any of these questions then you are almost certainly a workaholic.

Here are some of the diseases you could suffer from:

* Eczema or dermatitis
* Indigestion
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome
* Arthritis
* High blood pressure
* Asthma
* Headaches or migraines

You don't have to fit into any particular working category to be a workaholic. People working for themselves often become victims as they struggle to create a successful business. But employees can also be victims - particularly if they are working in a tough, competitive environment with a ruthless and domineering boss.

Housewives are as likely to suffer as anyone.

You can help yourself survive - in good health - by following some simple rules:

1. Cut out unnecessary work whenever possible. This is just as important at home as at work. Many chores become habits - even though they may not be necessary. Don't wash the car unless it's really dirty. Never iron socks or knickers.
2. Always leave a quarter of your time unscheduled. If you pack your day with appointments and commitments then the inevitable crises will throw you into a panic.
3. Make a list of everything you've got to do each week. Put urgent items on an one list; less urgent items on a second list and non-urgent items on a third list. This way you can make sure that you do the urgent stuff first - before you get chased.
4. Break down big jobs into small, manageable parts to reduce the stress levels.
5. If you have to take on something new try, make sure that you give up something that you are already doing - otherwise your work quota will simply expand until you collapse.
6. Allow other people to help you as often as possible. At work delegate whenever you can. Try to surround yourself with people who you can trust. At home, when they are old enough, get the kids to help with the washing up and peel the potatoes; then, gradually increase their responsibilities.
7. Make relaxation a priority - and put it onto your URGENT list every week. You should spend some time every day relaxing - and you need to be able to relax effectively and thoroughly.
8. Make physical fitness a priority - put visits to the gym on your URGENT list too. The fitter you are the better you will be able to cope with stress and pressure.
9. Don't let your work invade every aspect of your life. If you take work home make sure that you only work in ONE room.
10. Learn to say 'no'. It may be hard. But it is often a lot easier than saying 'yes' to things that you don't really want to do, and haven't got time for.

Finally, don't make the mistake of thinking that you are indispensable. Graveyards are full of people who thought they were indispensable.

If you want to know just how indispensable you are try this:

* Fill a bowl with warm water
* Put your hand into the bowl
* Take your hand out
And look at the size of the hole your hand leaves when you remove it.
THAT'S how indispensable you are.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2004