Posted on Mar 4th, 2006


Workaholism is a common type of dysfunctional behavior. It is a destructive behavior pattern that is not normal. Simply working hard from time to time is not what I am talking about here. We all have to do that occasionally. It becomes dysfunctional when the duration and intensity of the behavior get out of control and begin affecting your life in a negative manner. Workaholics must fix this problem first if they want to get organized.

So What?

Many people actually brag about being workaholics. They love to tell you about how many hours they “put in” and how they haven’t had a day off in months or years. Most workaholics do not realize they are, in effect, telling you they are dysfunctional and behaving in an irrational manner. There are only 24 hours in your day, only 24 hours in my day, only 24 hours in everybody’s day.

  • George Washington only had 24 hours each day to figure out how to build a new nation and follow up on his ideas.

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower only had 24 hours each day to figure out how to win World War II and follow up on his ideas.
  • Albert Einstein only had 24 hours each day to solve some of the greatest mysteries of the universe (including the true meaning of time).
  • These guys actually had some good reasons for occasionally being workaholics. The fact is, most of us are not building new nations, fighting global wars or solving the problems of the universe. We can probably get our work done without turning into workaholics.

    Now What?

    Be honest with yourself (this may not be easy or feel good at first). Think about why you have chosen to be a workaholic. Here are some possible reasons according to psychologists who study this type of behavior:

    • Workaholics have trouble relaxing or doing nothing. Some workaholics have a profound sense of insecurity and think that others appreciate them only for what they do instead of what they are.

  • Workaholics have anxieties about not living up to expectations, not being good enough, or other people finding out they are not as good as everyone thinks they are. According to psychoanalyst Manfred Kets de Vries, these people put “all the eggs of self-esteem in the basket of work.”
  • Workaholics won’t delegate because they think nobody else can do the work as well as they can. This attitude, of course, assures they will never escape from the workaholic cycle.
  • There are many other reasons for workaholism, but the more important issue is what to do about it. One of the best steps to conquer workaholism is to take time out for reflection. Figuring out why you are driving yourself so hard will help you figure out how to stop doing it. Use some of your restless energy to research the topic and figure out how to create a better, non-dysfunctional life for yourself. Stop thinking being a workaholic is normal behavior.

    “There is more to life than to increase its speed.” - Mahatma Gandhi

    Chris Crouch, president and founder of DME Training and Consulting, is the developer of the GO System. The GO System is a structured training course designed to improve focus, organization and productivity in the workplace and is taught by corporate trainers and professional organizers all over the country. Chris is also author of Getting Organized: Learning How to Focus, Organize and Prioritize and other books that provide practical and easy-to-learn ideas on personal achievement, success and productivity.

    Visit to learn more about the GO System, to inquire about having Chris speak to your group or organization, to sign up for Chris’ free newsletter providing tips on having a more joyful and productive life, and for additional ideas on improving focus, organization and productive.

    To learn about becoming a Certified GO System Trainer, visit

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