Savvy Minds: Ask Dr. V ~ Am I a Workaholic?

Dear Dr. V ~

I’m incredible stressed and overwhelmed with my dating situation. I’ve been doing the online dating thing and can’t seem to keep my scheduled dates because of work. I usually have to reschedule two or three times, and one time this guy said to me, “I just had to meet the girl who thinks she’s busier than everyone else.” He then went on to describe me as a “workaholic.” I don’t think I’m busier than everyone else but do wonder if I may be a workaholic … how can I tell? And if so what can I do about it?
Keri from Wisconsin
Dear Keri,

It sounds as if you’re incrediblly stressed and overwhelmed with your work schedule not your dating situation. Your dating situation is a symptom of your work schedule. Below I have provided some questions to help in defining whether or not you are, indeed, a workaholic. I have also included some tips on how to reclaim your life.
1) First Determine If You Are a Workaholic

Any kind of “aholic” works to fill an inner-need by filling it up with something else, and the first step is admitting you have a problem. If you are truly a workaholic you’re probably putting aside your friends and potential mates in favor of work. Or, have you simply fallen into a pattern of working long hours? Did you wind up with a demanding boss and equally demanding clients and can’t find enough hours in the day to satisfy them? Or are you working towards a promotion, and once you get it you’ll be able to slow down? Or maybe you just like being busy. Once you determine the root of the issue, you can work to correct it. If you feel like your boss doesn’t understand, maybe you’ll have to get a new job. Or maybe you just need to learn to say “no” once in a while.
2) It’s All About Priorities

When someone tells you they are too busy to call they are really telling you they don’t have a priority to call you. As harsh as that may seem, it rings true as we get older and our lives become busier. Maybe you really don’t need to work the hours you do, but you find it a good excuse to put off potential dates. If you don’t want to meet a particular date, do you use work as your standby excuse? Do you find that you really have time to do certain things and not others? Sure, work emergencies come up, but you need to realize that you are in control of your life. Not your boss.
3) Make Sure Your Attention Is On Your Date When You’re With Them

Even if you have a demanding job, you’re going to have to learn to balance your work and home life. And if you don’t get this concept down, you won’t have a home life to balance. So when you are with your date, pay attention. Listen. Acknowledge things they say and respond to them. Use the time you are with them to truly get to know them, instead of thinking of what you have to do back at work. Turn off that super-busy switch in your head and relax so they can get to know the real you. When you are at the office, take time during the day to email them and let them know you are thinking of them. Call them. In short, communicate. Yes, it will take effort on your part but all relationships do. And it’s worth it.
4) Take Some Tips From Your Married Cohorts

If you’re single, you’ve probably noticed that sometimes married folks have a better deal when it comes to business emergencies. If a project requires working late, married coworkers have real, honest-to-goodness obligations — picking up their kids from daycare, needing to put dinner on, etc. Inevitably you may have had to work late while you watched them leave on time each day. Was it fair? The married folks would probably say yes, but consider this — is your life less important? It can be hard to tell employers no when you don’t have to pick up kids from childcare but just really need to get home and do wash. But don’t be afraid to say no. You don’t need to give an explanation, you can simply say, “I’m not available.” Your time is just as valuable as the next person’s.
5) Start Developing Your Life Outside of Work

If the majority of your friends are at work, you need to get out. (This goes double if the majority of your exes are people you’ve met at the office.) Spend some time engaging in your hobbies (or finding some if you’ve really been cooped up at the office.) Hanging out with non-work folks will broaden your horizons and help you to converse about things other than work. Don’t you hate it when someone drones on and on about their job and can’t talk about anything else?
You might even meet someone cute and fun whom you’ll end up dating.
Good luck,

Dr. V
Note: All information in the Ask Dr. V column is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, please feel free to call or email Dr. V, or consult your doctor.
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