Confessions of a Workaholic

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Moving from a big law firm in a big city to an in-house job closer to home was supposed to solve everything. The spending more time at the office than at home problem.  The never relaxing on the weekends or during so-called vacations problem.  The quality time with my kids equaling an hour commute to daycare/work and middle of the night feedings problem.

Going in-house did make a lot of things easier.  I have no billable hours.  My weekday evenings and weekends, are, for the most part, respected by others.  I have to admit that it's not really less work, but it is more manageable. But as my company entered a high growth phase and I was entrusted with major deals, I found myself slipping into old habits.  Constantly checking emails once I got home, even during dinner and bath time.  Working for hours after the kids went to bed.  I took six days off over the holidays and ended up working more than half of them, including most of Christmas Eve. The worst part is that I realized that I missed deal-driven work, and that it gave me a rush.  That, when our CEO singled me out for getting a deal signed by a seemingly impossible deadline, I secretly gave myself a high-five instead of stopping to think about what sacrifices I had to make to earn that praise.  In other words, the problem was not my law firm, nor my current company.  The problem was me.

External changes, like finding a new job and moving to a new city, are easy, even though at the time they certainly seem tough.  The hard part is changing yourself.  A co-worker who seems to have this whole life-work balance thing figured out always says that if you are doing it more than 9 hours a day, you're doing it wrong, so let's start there.  My basic perfectionist, type-A personality is here to stay, but I need to contain it within some reasonable parameters.  I've come up with a few baby steps that I hope will help me break my workaholic ways.  My biggest issues stem from my third baby, my iPhone, so my first step is to not touch my phone after work until after the kids are in bed.  I may even start leaving it in my car when I get home - we have a detached garage and it's winter, so I won't be tempted to cheat.  My day starts and ends with checking work email, so my next step is to stop sleeping next to my phone.  I don't have a land line, and I use my iPhone as an alarm clock, so I think this will be the harder step of the two.  I'll check in with y'all and let you know how it's going, deal?

Are any of you trying to break bad habits this year?