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Don't Be a Workaholic, It Could Literally Kill You's Geoffrey James wrote on article about workaholism and how it almost killed him. A Harvard Business Review article discussed the differences between working long hours vs thoughts about work. They use the terms behavior (working long hours) and mentality (a compulsion to work, or what we call workaholism) to describe the two types of issues. "Unlike people who merely work long hours, workaholics struggle to psychologically detach from work. And we know that ongoing rumination often goes together with stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems, and it impedes recovery from work. Stress levels in workaholics are therefore often chronic, which leads to ongoing wear and tear on the body," the study showed. 

There were two takeaways and caveats about this study:

1. "First, when it comes to effects on health, working long hours is not as bad as obsessing over work. But this warrants an important disclaimer: The employees in our sample worked a maximum of 65 hours per week, and therefore we do not know the health outcomes of working longer hours."

2. "The second key message from our study is that workaholics who love their jobs are somewhat protected from the most severe health risks, and this may be because they feel that their work is worth all the hard work they put in. But this brings up another caveat: Although we found that engaged workaholics had lower physiological health risks (lower RMS) than non-engaged workaholics, they still reported more depressive feelings, sleep problems, various psycho-somatic health complaints, and a higher need for recovery than non-workaholics. These are all signs that well-being among workaholics, regardless of how much they love their job, can be impaired."

This study should prompt you to take account of what type of person you are if you find yourself in the workaholic category then you may need to assess steps to change your work-life balance.

Written by Alex Sinatra, Associate General Counsel, Intuitive Edge-Your Contracts Solution

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Lisa Scott