Confessions of a Workaholic

Me?  A workaholic?  Mmmm.  I had to think about this one, long and hard.  Was I simply an overachiever who liked money?  Did I have drive that couldn’t be tamed in 40 hours a week?  Was idle time the devil’s playground?  Um. No.

The answer, I am a workaholic. My brain is addicted to the  adrenaline rush of productivity. While it sounds like every employer’s dream, I assure you, it’s not.

Walking around stressed out and burnt out inhibits your ability to be creative, react to stress appropriately and takes a toll on your body.  And, well, that was me.

I mean, that’s the first step to recovery, right, admitting you have a problem.  I fit the classic symptoms of workaholic-ism to a T.  If you are unfamiliar with them, they are:

  • Working outside the office
  • Inability to relax
  • Never fully disconnecting
  • Refusal to delegate tasks
  • Constantly talking about work

For years I’ve worked 40 hours at my day job and 20 or more at my own company, Market or Die Author Services, add to that being a wife and a mother.  Mixing all of those jobs together, I work about 80 hours a week and I’m “on” 24/7.


I knew I hit rock bottom when I’d rather work than schedule my 6-year-olds birthday party. Even if it was at Chuck E Cheese and scheduled with the click of a mouse, I was too busy.  Problem.  Acknowledged.

So, I’m happy to report to you that I’ve made some changes.  I’m passing along these changes in case any of you want to join me sometime.

  • I’ve scheduled a once-a-month “me” day.  Maybe it’s a haircut, going for botox, a pedicure or massage.  I’ve vowed to spend one day a month totally on me. And, I promise I’ll leave the cell phone at home.
  • I listen to my dog.  Most of you have seen my spoiled Portugese Water Dog “Grissom” on Facebook.  He’s a nut.  And, spoiled rotten.  So much so that he barks at me every night at 9pm until I shut down my PC and sit with him on the sofa.  He doesn’t allow me to bring the PC to the sofa or he will paw the keyboard until I put it away.  Call him spoiled or genius…I don’t care.
  • Drink if it helps. There’s always room in the day for a single glass of red wine.  It has heart benefits, too.
  • Diet. By the time you read this post, I’ll have already started.  Damn. There goes that glass of wine.
  • Schedule time with friends.  Self-explanatory. I miss you guys.
  • Find someplace, anyplace, where your cell phone doesn’t work.  And go there.  My cell phone doesn’t work at the pool where my son takes his every Saturday swimming lesson. So, I make sure I take him and fully engage in his lesson without the temptation of scrolling through emails.
  • Taking a day off.  For a few weeks, I haven’t worked on Sunday.  And I won’t, not anymore. Even God rested.

So, what are your addictions?  It doesn’t have to be as damaging as mine to be shared.  Go ahead, spill. Chocolate?  Reality TV, Booze or Gambling?   Come on….Inquiring minds want to know.


11 thoughts on “Confessions of a Workaholic”

  1. So happy you’ve seen the light, my friend. I often think of that saying “On your death bed, it’s not likely that you’ll be saying, ‘I wish I’d worked more.'” I consider myself to be a bit of an overachiever but not a workaholic. I detest the fact that my work week is 60+ hours and miss the free time I gave up when I began this writing journey as a plan for my retirement. I definitely did not see myself working this hard at this point in my life. I keep telling myself it will get easier as I get better at it, but the job responsibilities and pressures of being part of the publishing world are growing like Jack’s beanstalk.

    I grew up in an addictive family, so after lots of counseling and support groups I’ve learned to strive for balance every day. When I see my health suffering, I jump on the problem like I’m taking down a hiefer! (bear with me, I’m practicing my metaphors). I have learned to walk away from the to-do list as often as possible, make exercise and proper nutrition my first priority, and make sure I am staying connected to family and friends. My mom used to say, “Life is too short to waste time and too long not to have any fun!” Mom’s are always right…

    Kudos to you for catching a new wave, sister! The diet thing is a tough change, and has to be for a lifetime or it won’t last and will only torture you. Being mindful and present about what you are putting into your body is the key. Become a label reader, get educated about nutrition, and as Jillian Michaels would say, “remind yourself about your “WHY”. Why do you want this? What is your goal? If you have a strong enough why, it will get you through any amount of “how much does this suck.”‘

  2. You? A Workaholic? I never would have guessed! My addictions? Um, nope. Practically Perfect in
    Every Way….ha! Truthfully, though–chocolate, reading, internet research (I swear I’m going to need and use that information someday!). That’s enough for now. You’re doing a great job and these sound like wonderful plans to disengage and relax–advice I can certainly use, so thanks!

    1. You’re so funny, Suze. I was doing some internet research yesterday. Know what I learned? Your average cow can feed 1400 people, if served an 8 ounce portion of beef. I can see why you’re addicted!!

  3. Being busy is a good thing, but even too much of a good thing is bad. With work, writing, editing, promotion of new book, grandma duties, and the pugs, I’m super busy too. I’m not a workaholic. Did you know, there is an “off” button on your cell phone? Who would have thought. I’m learning to take some time to smell the roses. Now … it’s back to work!

  4. Jen,
    I get exhausted just reading your posts and all the things you’re juggling in a single day! I’m so glad you’ve stepped back and recognized that you need some time for yourself. And good for you for listening to Grissom when he tells you it’s time to quit for the night.

    I’d say my addiction is sugar–in all its wonderful forms–and coffee. I’m really trying to wean myself off the sugar. Coffee, well, I’ll probably ask for a latte on my deathbed. Unrepentant to the last!

  5. This post makes me so very happy! I know you are going to like yourself and others more after you have given your body the rest it needs. And you are right about God resting on the seventh day, BUT He also gave YOU a day to rest. I’m glad to see you’re taking Him on it. I don’t work on Sunday’s either, but if I have to I make sure I take another day for myself.

    And try flavored seltzers. I don’t even bother with soda anymore.

  6. I’m a super control freak and don’t like to delegate at work. But I can’t do everything. I know I shouldn’t do everything and I refuse to work at home. They don’t pay me after 4pm.

  7. Jen, good for you girl, you deserve it. Feelin’ good when you are in control. I have had my 80 hour work weeks, but no more, never again, ever. No more multi-tasking, no more long, too long weeks. It is never too late to smell the roses.

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