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Help with workaholism

Myname posted 9/10/2019 20:17 PM

I know I'm a workaholic. I've talked about it on here before but I'm honestly tired of it. I really need help stopping. I just don't know how to stop working so much.

I'm sure IC makes sense but in order to get help for the workaholism I need to go to IC, in the middle of the day. Which means taking time out of my work day. If I could do that I wouldn't need IC!

I've had a few "wake up" moments recently. Had to cancel a weekend trip (posted about that here). The other day I got up for work at 4am and somehow fell asleep on the kitchen floor when I bent down to pet the cat. Two people in my life needed help with things recently and when I offered to help they just said that I had too much on my plate. And it's true.

I just see my whole life as work. That's it. I literally wake up between 4am and 5am and work until 10pm-12am 7 days a week. I only get 4-5 hours of sleep. I take no more than 10 minutes of breaks here and there during the day. I seriously can count on one hand the number of days off I've had this year. It's just too much.

How do I get help? Where do I start to get better.

Chrysalis123 posted 9/11/2019 06:03 AM

I am an educator. In this line of work one is never done. I could work as much as you, and still not be done.

I had to work on my perfectionism and realize I was important and needed time for myself in order to be happy. I needed to stop working at a reasonable time every day. My work would be waiting for me in the morning.

I also think this thought, "In 2 years will this task matter to anyone?" And usually the answer is no.

Why do you work so much?

hardtimesinlife posted 9/11/2019 09:54 AM

I went through a multi year period of this some years ago. I am also renovating my house room by room and am almost finished. I am worried about what I will do when I'm done. I'm 53 and slowing down a bit but sometimes I wonder if I'm stretching this Reno out so I don't have to face myself.

OK, I'm going to assume that you work your ass off for one or more of the following reasons:
It is your main (only?) source of accomplishment
It is your source of ego fulfillment (not in a bad way)
It is your way of boosting (maintaining?) your self esteem
It keeps you so active you don't have time for other harmful addictions or behaviors
It keeps you from having to feel loneliness
It keeps you from having to engage in interpersonal relationships
It proves to your parents and family that you are successful

Those all make sense to me. Maybe it's not the same for you though. But the bottom line is , besides money and accolades, what will you have to show for it at the end? Another question I like to ask is what would you do if you broke both legs and couldn't work? Would you fall apart? Because sometimes life gives us those situations so we can grow. If you tackle it now you won't need to fall apart.

In your business it should be doable to have a one hour appointment during the day. You leave your guys on the job and slip away, returning 90 ish minutes later.

Do you have a Lead guy you trust? I own a small service business and that is key, IMO.

Your body cannot handle the stress and it is giving you early warning signs. If you don't fix this you will land in the hospital, then you will do nothing but worry about your business falling apart. Wouldn't it be better to be proactive about this now? Kind of like when a piece of equipment starts to breakdown and you fix it before it becomes completely inoperable? You, Myname, are that piece of valuable equipment. Do the maintenance on you as you do on your equipment!

plainsong posted 9/11/2019 14:19 PM

Have you checked out Workaholics Anonymous? When I went about 10 years ago, there were not very many live meetings, but they did have online meetings and written materials that I found quite helpful.

Take a deep breath, and good luck!

DragnHeart posted 9/12/2019 09:21 AM


Hello my friend. I agree with others in that you are just as important as the business. You need to take care of you first.

Myname posted 9/12/2019 21:26 PM

Why do you work so much?

Hardtimes is basically right on with the reasons. But I quickly run through some of them.

Short term reason is I have no one else to do the work. I hired 4 different people this year to be my right hand man that I can trust and rely on and all 4 failed badly.

Work is my escape from me. I don't like me. I am a failure at life but at work I'm a champion. So if I always stay working I'm the champion. At home I'm depressed. Anymore than a few hours off of work and I start thinking of hurting myself or "fantasizing" about killing myself.

I feel like I don't deserve time off. I feel very guilty if I'm not working. Working this much is a punishment for me. Just another form of self harm. I fully recognize this.

Have you checked out Workaholics Anonymous? When I went about 10 years ago, there were not very many live meetings, but they did have online meetings and written materials that I found quite helpful.

I have not but I will definitely look into this.


[This message edited by Myname at 9:27 PM, September 12th (Thursday)]

Carissima posted 9/13/2019 01:45 AM

Can I ask what you do to fill those hours? If I remember correctly you own/run a landscaping business, where I live you there are restrictions on the hours work like this can be done, especially in residential areas. You definitely wouldn't be able to start before 8am and finish 8pm or 9pm.

If it's the admin side of things, then I would look to hire someone to do this specific job or even just streamline your practises.

If work really is your safe place is it possible you consciously look for reasons to work rather than leave at a more reasonable time?

As for the self harm and suicide thoughts you really need to prioritise dealing with this. Try and find a therapy system that works for you or even pick up a phone to a hotline. You are not a failure in any way but I understand how those thoughts can penetrate your mind and grow. A failure would not get up every day to face his battles and demons, would not run a successful company and care for it's employees!

Myname posted 9/15/2019 13:51 PM

Can I ask what you do to fill those hours?

Yes I own a landscaping company. Obviously I do a lot of field work but when I get home it's repairs on equipment, phone calls, emails, estimates and route sheet for the next day. I do have someone that helps out with office stuff but there are some things she can't do. Certain questions and things only I can do.

The stuff I do to "keep the business running every day" is easily a 40 hour a week job. So me in the field cutting grass is the problem. That would be the way to cut back on my hours. The problem is anyone I've hired so far takes 2-3 times longer to do the work than I do and they rarely do it correctly so it has to be redone. I'm using the same crew members that they are so it's not like I am running with really good guys and I'm giving the other crew leaders slow workers.

I am going to be working on a VERY detailed manual on how to mow a lawn. I already have manuals for weed eating, push mowing, and blowing. I will come up with one for mowing as well as one that puts all the components together on how to run a mowing crew. I don't know what else to do. I make it really simple but people still can't seem to get it done correctly.

If work really is your safe place is it possible you consciously look for reasons to work rather than leave at a more reasonable time?

Absolutely! I'm doing that today. That's where I see this as an addiction. Yes, I have staffing issues. But if those issues were magically fixed tomorrow I would still be working too many hours.

Since I'm working today and I know I don't really have to be I'm trying to be conscious of why I'm doing this. I feel I don't deserve to take time off. When I do stop I'm left with my thoughts.

I am considering IC. If I start during the winter I know I will have time then. Maybe I will be able to continue into the spring and summer. I know I need help here. Professional help. And not just for the workaholism. That's just the symptom of a deeper problem.

Man, life is hard. Nobody told me life would be this hard.

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