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Signs You Might Be a Workaholic: A Deeper Look

April 2, 2024

Signs You Might Be a Workaholic: A Deeper Look

Being a workaholic often gets glamorised in our high-speed, productivity-oriented society. However, it carries significant risks for burnout and can negatively impact personal health and relationships. Drawing from insights shared by Nazir Razak on his course “Achieving Success in the Corporate World” on, this article explores the subtle signs of a workaholic.

Woman in bed using a digital device

What is a Workaholic?

A workaholic is someone who is excessively devoted to their work to the detriment of other life aspects. It is not just about working hard; it is about an imbalance that can lead to burnout.

Signs You Might Be a Workaholic

1. Always On the Job: Even when you are home, if you find it difficult to shift your focus away from work-related thoughts, it’s a clear sign of workaholism. This was something Nazir Razak realised too late; he was physically at home but mentally, he was still entangled in his corporate responsibilities. This constant mental engagement with work tasks, even during ‘off’ hours, prevents genuine relaxation and recovery, which is crucial for long-term productivity and health.

2. Neglecting Personal Health: Regularly skipping meals, sacrificing sleep, or missing medical appointments because of work are red flags. In other words, these habits contribute to a deterioration in physical and mental health over time. Razak specifically pointed out the severe consequences of neglecting health due to work pressures, which he felt contributed to his own illness. Prioritising work consistently over health can lead to serious conditions including chronic stress, heart disease, and other stress-related illnesses.

3. Work Affects Relationships: If your family and friends frequently mention that you are always busy with work, or if you miss significant personal events because of work commitments, it is time to reassess your priorities. Relationships require time and attention, and neglecting them can lead to isolation and regret, something Razak reflected on regarding his time with his children and family.

4. Inability to Disconnect: A hallmark of a workaholic is the inability to disconnect from work communications after hours. If you find yourself constantly checking emails and messages during family dinners or late at night, it indicates a poor work-life boundary. Setting specific times when you are not available for work unless in an emergency is crucial for maintaining a balance.

5. Work-Induced Stress: Constant stress about work, feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities, and having anxiety over deadlines are signs that work is dominating your life. Chronic stress not only diminishes your capacity to work effectively but also affects your overall life satisfaction. Razak emphasised the invisible but harmful impacts of prolonged stress, which he believed contributed to his health decline.

A tired workaholic

Balancing Work and Life

Achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial. It involves setting clear boundaries between work and personal life, ensuring neither is neglected. Here are some strategies:

– Set Clear Work Boundaries: Establish specific work hours and stick to them. Communicate these boundaries clearly to your colleagues and clients.

– Prioritise Health and Relationships: Make deliberate efforts to maintain your health and nurture relationships. In short, scheduling regular exercise, family activities, or social outings.

– Learn to Delegate: Effective delegation can reduce your workload and prevent burnout. It allows you to focus on key responsibilities while empowering others.

– Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation: Techniques such as meditation, yoga, or simple breathing exercises can help manage stress and enhance focus on the present moment.

“You can’t truly be considered successful in your
business life if your home life is in shambles.”

– Zig Ziglar


Being a workaholic is not a requisite for success. True leadership and productivity arise from balance—where work, health, and personal relationships are all given their due importance. As Nazir Razak’s reflections reveal, understanding and moderating work commitments are essential for long-term success and well-being. Recognising the signs early can help prevent the adverse effects of being a workaholic.

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