Are you addicted to work? Here are 3 indicators that say you may be

Running a small business is is no easy feat. Entrepreneurs put in long days and hard yards as well as give up personal time to achieve success. There’s a fine line, however, between contributing some extra time and becoming addicted to work, and it’s important to know the difference between them.

Being addicted to work—sometimes referred to as being a “workaholic”—can have serious repercussions to your personal life, health and wellbeing. Managing your work life versus your personal takes great discipline and control. Work life-balance is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Here are 3 indicators that say you’re addicted to work.

  1. You work many more hours than you intend

Having occasional days where you get caught up in work or projects at the office and stay back late when you should be at home enjoying your personal time. The problem is this slowly then becomes the new norm, when you’re frequently work over 12 or so hour days and only going home long enough to eat and sleep.

Even if you have a bit more time than that at home, if you intended to work 40-50 hours a week and you routinely exceed this, you may need to reassess whether taking a step back from work and enforcing a 40-hour work week what value will this give back to your life?

Ask yourself: How many hours should I reasonably work at this business? Am I frequently working more than that?

  1. Your health and well-being are suffering

If you are showing physical signs of stress and anxiety, or if you are generally under the weather or unwell than usual, it’s possible that you’re working too much? It may seem like a good idea to put in all the hours you can to make your business or work life successful, but the consequences of poor health can be devastating for your company.

Your decision-making skills may suffer. You may find you are unable to complete tasks in a timely manner or as efficiently. You may miss important details, such as deadlines, payments that are due or simply things falling through the cracks.  All of these things impact negatively on the on your organisation.

Working to the point of being sick is not a sound business strategy. You need time away from work to rest and recover, and give yourself something else to focus on. It may be that you also require some help or support by someone close to you or even a health practitioner to help you form better strategies.

Ask yourself: Do I generally feel healthy and energetic? Am I sleeping well? If not, you might need time away from the job.

  1. You continuously cancel appointments with people because of work

Unless your small business involves actual life-or-death scenarios, there’s no reason to constantly cancel on your friends and family for “work emergencies.” Sure, they can happen once in a while. You might have an important deadline with a client or an urgent phone call with a supplier that pulls you away from your plans but nothing is really that crucial that cannot wait a reasonable time.

If you frequently cancel engagements with your friends and family—and if they’ve started complaining about it—there’s a chance you’ve become addicted to your work.

Ask yourself: How many times in the past month have I had to cancel plans for something work-related that wasn’t actually all that urgent? If it’s more than a couple of times, you may need to rethink your whole work/life balance.


Running a small business requires so much of you, and it is so easy to fall into bad habits that lead you to become addicted to your work at the risk of burnout or emotional stress. Burnout can be catastrophic for a small business, especially if there is no one that can step into your shoes in your absence to recover.

A better strategy is to work as much as you need to and to protect your personal time as much as possible. Listen to your body and the people around you when they tell you it’s time to stop. Enforce hard stops for workdays, after which you must go home. Engage a team that can handle your business while you’re not there, then trust them to do so.

With strategies like these in place your business will be better for it, as will you.

Do you need help with your business? Get in touch with us so we can help relieve some of what is on your plate to free up more of your time.