top of page

Did you know, there are 4 different types of workaholics?

Apparently, not all workaholics are the same. I used to hold the stereotypical idea of what a workaholic is and so I didn’t even think that people may be workaholics in many different ways.

Then I read ‘’Chained to the desk’’ by Bryan Robinson PhD — who did outline the different types of workaholics and how we can differentiate them and I understood why despite me knowing I am a workaholic — I felt like this is one more thing I don’t ‘’fit in’’ the stereotypical description.

So what am I then — if not the stereotypical workaholic?

Well, as with everything else in life — I fluidly move from one category to another — but my workaholic ‘’home base’’ is actually the Attention Deficit Workaholic.

I’ve spoken about it multiple times, but it might be relevant to share here too — if ADD and ADHD were a thing when I was a kid in school — I’d have easily been diagnosed with ADD. My schooling years feel like they never happened — mentally I was just not there. I was bored, distracted and quietly escaping the reality of the classroom with far more interesting ideas, projects and thoughts in my mind.

Anyhow — let’s see — where are you going to find yourself among the different Workaholic types.

Workaholism & its Types

· Different work styles = different sets of emotional/cognitive vulnerabilities

· Workaholics can be found at every level of income, not only high-paid positions

What are the different types of workaholics - bulimic, relentless, savouring, attention deficit workaholics

Relentless Workaholic:

· Stereotypical workaholic: working all the time, few periods of downtime, leisure and recreation, work more important than relationships

· Completion: overcommitting but getting the job done weeks ahead of schedule = high productivity

· Initiation: tasks are quickly done = quick on to new tasks

· Addiction: Adrenaline kick of finishing task, praise from others

· Perfectionist: standards practically unreachable, take work seriously, abhor incompetence of others

“You have to balance your passions, not your time.” – Lisa Sugar

Bulimic Workaholic:

· Alternate between binge and purge = seems to others as if avoiding work but internally obsessing about it

· Initiation: not starting, procrastinating until last minute

· Completion: times of frantic productivity with over-commitment, not stopping before the job is done -> collapsing afterwards -> long time not being productive

· Perfectionist: distracting themselves because of fear of doing tasks not perfectly -> work anorexic

Attention-Deficit Workaholic:

· Adrenaline-seeking, easily bored and distracted, constantly seeking stimulation

· Initiation: new tasks = new excitement/adrenaline -> innovators

· Completion: losing interest in/not paying attention to details, impulsive decisions -> leaving projects unfinished

· Addiction: adrenaline charge -> creating a crisis to solve -> attention and praise from others for resolving the crisis, might be undiscovered ADD

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn, Motivational Speaker

Savouring Workaholic:

· Slow, deliberate, methodical, detailed, self-absorbed, no team workers

· Completion: don’t know when the job is done, never good enough -> over-analyzing, lost in details, creating additional work when almost done -> never closure nor real accomplishment

· Initiation: don’t want to start new tasks because the old one is never done

· Addiction: always being busy, ticking off tasks on lists -> shows accomplishment on paper

So, now that you are familiar with the different types of workaholics — which one would you class yourself to be?

Want to learn more about workaholism?

Make sure to sign up for updates on our blog posts and quizzes that can help you learn more about yourself or the workaholic in your life and how you can navigate better to address work addiction.

bottom of page