We've all had days those days when we get home from work, can talk about nothing but work, lie awake in bed thinking about work, even dream about work before going back to work.
But what is it to be a true workaholic? Recruitment consultancy Robert Half has attempted to come up with a list of seven signs you might be letting your job take over your life -- and how to avoid professional burnout.
"Working non-stop and feeling uncomfortable at the thought of taking annual leave for a holiday can lead to an unhealthy form of 'workaholism' - which in the long run can be unproductive and unrewarding," said general manager Megan Alexander.
"Fatigued and exhausted employees are little use to their organisation, so while putting in the extra hours might seem like a good idea initially, it won't be long before you're at risk of burn out."
Could you be a workaholic?
1. You're the first to arrive and last to leave
Starting early isn't necessarily a bad thing; people often find they're at their most productive at the start of the day. But if you're also the one also switching off the lights at night there may be a problem, the Robert Half report says.
"Rather than working harder or longer hours, employees would be best to work smarter and manage their time better so that they can finish on time."
2. You have no hobbies or interests
When was the last time you took part in some sort of activity you enjoy outside of work? Some people spend every waking hour performing employment duties or when they're not they're thinking about it.
"Always prioritising work over your personal life can have seriously negative consequences, such as a diminishing social circle and lack of work-life balance, which just leaves you with colleagues and clients on your contacts list."
3. You're constantly stressed
Sometimes a little stress at work is not a bad thing - it ensures professionals are motivated to complete projects and meet important deadlines. However, if you find yourself in a constant state of worry, even when you're not at work, this can become a problem.
"It's never a good sign for your short or long-term health if you're suffering withdrawal symptoms on the weekends."
4. You never take a lunch break
If you find you've never got the time to take a proper lunch break, ask yourself: "Is this a voluntary or involuntary decision?" If your organisation can't spare you half an hour to sit and eat your lunch then it needs to think about recruiting additional employees to add capacity.
"Every working professional needs to give their brain a scheduled rest for up to an hour to sit down and enjoy their lunch."
5. You check your emails every five minutes
It's of course important to keep on top of your emails when you're at work but once you head home for the evening it's a different matter. Unless it's particularly urgent, you shouldn't be spending your off-time or weekends responding to or sending emails.
"You're paid to work the allocated hours as set by your employer, not 24 hours, seven days a week."
6. You get impatient with everyone
It could be the employee who leaves early every Friday or the parent who wants to reduce their hours. Do you get frustrated with colleagues who seemingly work fewer hours than you do?
"Getting impatient and easily feeling frustrated with co-workers or even clients is an indication you might be exceeding certain limits."
7. You have one topic of conversation
You don't know what's happening in the news, what the result of Friday night's footy game was, or even who the prime minister is these days.
"Once you are in this head space, you should do a sense check as it could be a warning sign you are overdoing it at work."
Not to mention how boring this can be to those around you.
Three tips to avoid becoming a workaholic:
1. Time management
We are paid for our time so it makes sense to spend it wisely. This might mean declining non-essential meetings or dedicating time in your calendar to accomplishing one specific task.
"With time, there's also opportunity cost to keep in mind. If you're spending it on a less urgent project, you can't spend it on one that could be more impactful. And while a quick procrastination break every now and then never hurt anyone, set end goals to keep your productivity in check."
Know what requires your expertise and what doesn't. Understand your team's strengths and make good use of them.
"Finally, be honest about what you can take on. If you feel overwhelmed, be willing to say
no or ask for help."
3. Set clear boundaries
Business fluctuates and there will be times when you have to stay late, perhaps
work a Saturday, or return an email in the wee hours. Just don't make a habit of it.
"Remember why you're working in the first place: to support yourself or your family and to feel fulfilled, empowered or professionally satisfied."