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You don’t have to work long hours to be a workaholic

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It used to be that being seen as a workaholic was a badge of honor. Luckily, we now know just how severe the consequences are from working long hours. Everyone loves a hard worker, but too much overwork has been linked to everything from increased stress and poor sleep to an inability to communicate, collaborate, and think creatively.

Unfortunately, being a workaholic isn’t just about working long hours. According to new research, you can still face all the negative mental and physical consequences of workaholism and be working fewer hours than the majority of people around you.

If shorter hours aren’t a guaranteed way to save yourself from workplace stress, what is?

To answer that, we need to dive deeper into exactly what it means to be a workaholic, why being one is so dangerous, and how to tell if you’ve crossed the line from working hard to being obsessed.

The term “workaholic” was first coined by psychologist Wayne E. Oates in 1968 for someone with an “uncontrollable need to work incessantly” Oates saw some people’s relationship to work as an addiction akin to alcoholism or substance abuse.

Yet despite the word workaholic being a part of our culture for more than 50 years, there’s still no single accepted medical definition for what a workaholic is.

Psychologist Bryan Robinson called work addiction “the best-dressed mental health problem” of them all. And in fact, even the signs of workaholism originally defined by Oates sound like someone answering an interview question about their “worst qualities.” Things like:

Yes, all of these actions could signify someone who has become obsessed with their career. But they could also just as easily be signs of a particularly busy or stressful moment.

So what does differentiate the workaholic from a passionate, hard-working employee, then? How do you know if you’re just facing a stressful moment at........

© Fast Company