A Flashback to a Workaholic Past - picture of man sleeping on sofa with work in his lap

A Flashback to a Workaholic Past

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Before I quit my job in May, I was living a miserable life.  I was working at least 70 hours a week at my full-time job and on my website, and I had so much to do that nearly every minute of my day had to be spent in a productive way.  And, because of that, my life was basically falling apart.  I didn’t have time for anything like laundry, dishes, or grocery shopping.  Quality time with my children was usually spent stressing about all that needed to be done.  And while my relationship with my husband stayed strong, I really wasn’t giving him the time and attention that he deserved either.  Simply put, my life sucked.

Just the other day, I was skimming through a bunch of rough drafts of articles I’ve written and I came across a flashback to my workaholic past.  I had to share.

It’s 5:00, and I’ve just finished a long and stressful day at work.  I’m completely exhausted, and it’s not because I don’t love my job.  I thoroughly enjoy what I do for a living, regardless of the stress and constant demands of my workday.  Yet, despite the fact that I’ve already put in a full day at the office, my work is far from over.  It’s now time to go home and start my most important job of all, being a mother to my two sweet children.

Since my husband and I carpool to and from work, we pick the kids up from daycare and drive home.  I try to show them some attention while I make dinner, if only to give them a hug and a kiss between stirs of whatever I’m cooking.  Once I’m done preparing our meal, we eat dinner as a family and try to relax.

After dinner, it’s time for baths and mundane chores.  I start a load of laundry while my husband, Greg, supervises bathtime.  I put away the clean clothes from the day before, empty the dishwasher, and load it again.  Saving money by eating at home saves a bundle of money, but it creates a lot of dirty dishes to wash and put away!  I loathe dealing with dishes altogether, but I try to remember why we eat at home to begin with- to save money and to get ahead.

After bath time, we dress the kids in their pajamas and start to wind down.  It’s about 7:00 by now and we have about an hour before it’s time to put the kids to bed.

One hour. 

One hour to play with my children without any other responsibilities.  One hour to hug them, kiss them, and give them 100% of my affection.  I cherish this precious time with them and try to cram as much as I possibly can into that one tiny hour.  Still, I often wonder….is this really how we’re supposed to live?

As I read that post, I could feel the desperation in my own words.  I was overworked and lonely, and had truly become a shadow of my former self.  And although I didn’t realize it at the time, I think I was teetering on the edge of insanity.  Looking back, I’m not sure that my lifestyle was fair to my family…or myself.  And, what kind of life was I really living, anyway?

I’m so glad that I quit my job to pursue my passion.  And while  being self-employed and working from home isn’t perfect, it’s given me the opportunity to enjoy the little things again.  And, at the end of the day, the little things are probably all that matters anyway.

Was there ever a time in your life when you felt overworked?  If so, how did you make a change?

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74 Comments

  1. That scenario served as the catalyst to my year off. I was so disappointed with squeezing motherhood into a few tiny hours in the evening. And those hours were generally not my best as I was tired and impatient by the end of the day. It’s great to hear you are enjoying your “new” life. Congrats again.

  2. Your hard work paid off as you were able to leave your job. For some they are stuck forever, working two or three jobs.
    I’ve been really busy at work the past few months, I put in a 13 hour work day today and now can’t sleep so here I am commenting. Being in Hawaii this post came up around midnight for me.

  3. Honestly I feel overworked right now! I have my full-time job plus I work on the site about 20 hours a week (on average). I feel like I need to be doing something productive every minute of every day. But I’m getting better as I have been trying to intentionally make time to NOT do productive things. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I had kids on top of it all, though…that’d be tough.

    1. Yes, exactly. I tried to devote all of my attention to the kids until bedtime at 8:00. Then I could work on the blog from 8-11. The only way to find more time was to get up really early…like 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. Doing that really sucked because I was always so exhausted.

  4. I feel you Holly been there and to solve my problems I quit my job and decided to go at it on my own. Usually I would get home with about an hours to eat and play/talk to my son. With my newborn I made a promise that would never happen again. Family first money will come and the stress wasnt worth it. Now I work probably more than I did before but I can control more how I manage my time. No waking up to get dressed then a hour drive to work wasting a hour on lunch and leaving to go home at 6-7pm with another hour drive back home. I am starting to cut back on the time I spend online as well.

    1. Exactly. I love not having to get “ready” for work each day. I still shower and put clothes on but I don’t have to get all made up or drive anywhere.

  5. This post was like a recap of my work life few months back. I too had a very strenuous life where I struggled to manage both my regular work and my family. Now that I have quit my job and am on full time blogging I am feeling little relaxed and able spend quality time with my family. Yeah, it is always those little things which matters a lot for us.

  6. Wow! Honestly, I feel like this now! Work has been absolutly crazy the last few months. Our plan is to reach financial independence within the next few years at which point we can scale back drastically on our work commitments.

  7. Funny. I feel overworked when I’m not enjoying “the work.” If I love the job, it doesn’t really feel like work at all, no matter how fast the pace.

    1. I think there is definitely some truth to that. I started resenting my job at the end so I definitely wasn’t enjoying it.

  8. I’ve been working all my way to exhaustion and I am still recovering from that… funnily most of it at the beginning of my self employed career because I wanted to get ahead. So 10 or 12 hours of work per day, including weekends, were the norm back then (and I came from a really stressful 9 to 5 job and it was pretty bad). But eventually I realized that you need to give yourself time to enjoy the little things otherwise all this work makes no sense: why do my best to make more money if I don’t even get to enjoy them?

    1. Yes, exactly. It just wasn’t worth it at all.

  9. I have felt overworked a few times in my short life, and I definitely agree that it’s no way to live a life! Sure it might be necessary for a short period of time in order to achieve some goals, but it’s definitely not worth it over the long haul.

  10. Glad to see you made the transition to your self employed position and it looks like you are doing great! It is nice to see people are choosing their family, or at least a work/family balance, over money or a career.

    1. So true. Kids need a lot and it’s hard to give it to them when you’re working 24/7.

  11. This is a really great post Holly. It’s something I’m starting to wrestle with a lot these days, as the blog seems to be taking up more and more of my time. I really enjoy what I’m doing, but I do feel like there are some other areas of my life that are starting to slip. It’s going to take some effort to figure out what’s really important and how to cut the things out that aren’t.

    1. Been there!

      As your blog grows, it needs more and more of your attention!

  12. A 70 hour working week is extremely tough! I’m so glad you made the decision to change your work life balance. I’ve also been in this situation at my old job, before I had my daughter and when I was pregnant. I had so much work to do and usually went in around 7.30am to get stuff done before my colleagues arrived then left around 6pm if I was lucky. I once worked until 11pm one night whilst I was 6 months pregnant because of the sheer amount of work I had to do. NEVER AGAIN! I’m self employed now, earning much less, but happier. 🙂

    1. Happiness is worth a lot, I think. Money can only do so much for you.

  13. I’ve certainly been there, and it sucks. Now that I usually have a couple of days off per week, it makes all the difference. This week I’ve actually had to work 4 days, and I’m starting to feel like my former self, which is not good, but next week will be much better. I look back and wonder why I did it so long, and the debt we had was really what had to keep me in the game. I’m so glad we got rid of that burden. I might be in a straight jacket by now if we hadn’t.

  14. I’ve definitely felt overworked. Still kind of do. The difficult part is that I don’t really love what I do so it’s hard to put in so many hours and feel good about it.

  15. I can totally relate to this Holly, blogging is much more demanding than people think and to try and give a blog what it deserves whilst working full-time is really tough, almost unsustainable unless you call in some kind of outside help. Really glad things are better for you now.

    1. Thanks Adam. It really is unsustainable for the long-term. At a certain point, something has to give.

  16. I was listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast and John Lee Dumas was being interviewed by Pat. One thing that stood out to me being a new dad was that John, within 300 interviews, has found one constant. A high majority of entrepreneurs really succeeded because they had a kid. Their kid(s) got them to focus on what truly matters.

    Needless to say, I had been half-assing my efforts until my son was born. Now, I am on fire and trying to accomplish as much as possible by being extremely focused.

    Kids can do crazy things to all of us. Thankfully, they often get us to be doing more of what we love so that we can do more of the things we love.

    The Warrior
    NetWorthWarrior.com

    1. That is so true…Kids really have a way of changing your perspective, don’t they?

  17. I kind of feel overworked now with my full-time job, part-time job and blogging. However, my full-time job isn’t too stressful and I get a lot of time off. And although my part-time job and blogging can be a lot of work (and perhaps a bit stressful at times), I really enjoy them.

    It comes in waves for me. I try to squeeze in a bit of down time on Sundays. Its the one day where my alarm is shut off. 🙂

    1. Ohhh….me too. We sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays, at least until 8:00 or so when the kids wake us up!

  18. I am beginning to feel like this only in a different way. I work my regular 9-5 job everyday come home spend time with the kids. We play, they help me cook supper, we read, and then its bath and bed time. After they go to bed is when I start working on my online stuff. So, instead of spending less time with them I am losing a lot of sleep to stay up and work on writing. Some mornings I don’t want to get out of bed and need a 5 hour energy just to get me going.

    The way things are looking I want to make the switch…..soon

    1. Yep, I know the feeling! I was soooooo tired back in those days. Almost delirious.

  19. Hey Holly, another workaholic here. I work a full time job, go home work on the site and, try to have fun in between. I’m one of those people that feels like I’m wasting time if my fingers aren’t pounding away on some keyboard somewhere. Anyway, thanks for the great post, I really enjoyed the morning read!

    1. Yep!

      Why do we need to feel productive all the time?

  20. I was an early adopter of work boundaries since my late 20’s when I had a horrible job at a movie trailer company. I realized when my life felt too “owned” by someone else that I was going to be absolutely miserable. Glad you recognized that in your own life and made changes!

  21. I hope the flashback of your workaholic past isn’t what my life will look like when my wife returns to work. It is great that you quit your job to follow your passion and that it is working out.

    1. Thank you Andrew!

      Your wife doesn’t blog, right? That’s where I ran into problems…working and blogging/writing.

  22. I can relate, Holly. My current situation is very similar to your former one. It’s stressful trying to balance everything. I could make things easier by giving up my side hustle, but I don’t want to! I’m glad you’re able to have the satisfactory feeling of looking back and seeing how far you’ve come.

    1. Thanks!
      Don’t give up your side hustle. If you’re like me, it could turn into your real job!

  23. My previous job had me working 100+ hours per week and occasional all-nighters. I had to keep clothes at the office and would change and shower there for times like this. But the breaking point was when they wanted me to move to cities that I didn’t like and were high tax high COL areas without a pay increase. hmmm. Leave a place I love for less pay and higher costs in a place I hate? I think not!

    1. That sounds insane! Did you really work all night? Crazy!

  24. The dishes! The dishes! They’re never ending!

    And having a nursing baby around makes it so much worse! I’m constantly loading and unloading, loading and unloading, loading and unloading…

    1. Yep! I feel like I load it/unload it every single day! Eating at home saves money…but makes more work!

  25. That old post made me sad for you. 🙁 But then I remembered that you are able to enjoy life a little more now and it made me happy for you.

    I had some pretty dark times when I was in college. I was working 40+ hours per week, attending school full-time, and trying to be a good husband and dad. It was definitely not easy. Thank heavens that ended and now I am able to spend more time doing things I enjoy.

  26. I can totally relate to this post Holly! I guess you could say I’m a workaholic now since I work 40hrs/wk at my full time job and easily 20hrs/wk blogging but now I have to add in wedding planning as well! Yikes! From reading this post to reading your current posts, you sound so much happier now! Glad to hear you’ve found Holly again 🙂

  27. My week day life is very scheduled and I do remember after dinner having about an hour with the girls before they went to bed too. Now that they are older, we do have more time together in the evenings, which is nice. It’s tough but I love my job too, so I make it work. Plus, the weekends are all about family and I think that’s what keeps me sane. And still really loving what I do. Once you stop enjoying the work, then it’s becomes almost unbearable. I’m glad you’re feeling back to normal and able to be the Mom you want to be to your girls.

  28. That’s awesome that you now have more time and don’t feel overworked. I don’t have kids or a job that requires more than 50 hours of work a week, so I’m not overwhelmed right now. I’m sure I will be in the future when both of those come along.

  29. Keren @ Stepping It Down says:

    It breaks my heart that I can’t spend more time with my kids than I do now. I carry a big burden of guilt. I know I could put more into my blog and my extra income than I do now, but I just feel so tired by the end of the day that I have motivation issues.

  30. I´m so happy on your behalf that you were able to follow your dreams and work at home, Holly! I bet both your children and husband are cherishing this new, re-energized mom and wife!

  31. I feel overworked constantly. Like DC, I work a 40+ hour work week and then come home to work more on my site and on economag. I would say I spend at least 20 extra hours a week on blogging and networking. The tough part for me, I’m alone. No family to come home to. No one to hug when I’m feeling stressed out. I understand the demands of a family can make the balancing act tougher, but I do miss having a significant other in the vicinity to turn to.

  32. This reminds me of this quote:

    “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

    ― Dave Ramsey

  33. I felt overworked for 4 years when I ran my e-commerce business. I worked over 100 hours a week and I was worn out. The way I got out of it was to shut it down. My family and my health became the priority and I didn’t love what I did anymore. It was drastic, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  34. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says:

    My biggest problem is the lack of motivation I feel sometimes. Especially when it comes to how tired I am. I think because I don’t have responsibilities like children, I don’t always have that impetus to stay up late and get things done but I really need to. I need to get that super motivation in my life… I feel it’s so easy to just accept “just-ok”.

  35. I definitely felt overworked at my last job. We don’t have kids so I don’t feel I have much room to complain, but I was putting in a lot of extra hours as that simply was the culture of the company. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, stressed about some project or deadline…

    My wife is similarly stressed in a PhD program now but that’s temporary and we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I’m really happy that you found a better balance…let’s hope we all do!

  36. I feel like this for 3 months out of the year. Those three months are affectionately called “tax hell”. It’s going to be even tougher this year with a 2 year old and a newborn just as tax season starts. Trying to rack my brain for a more efficient way to handle it this year…

  37. Part of my motivation to reach financial freedom was to become my own boss. I always felt that I was control of my future as I invested in income property.

  38. I’m really glad you were able to switch to being self-employed so that you could enjoy family time. You can tell from your post that you were drained and not living life the way you wanted. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to be consumed by work but still want to play an important part in your children’s lives. I do sometimes feel overworked, but I don’t have it nearly as bad as others out there. I’m guessing we all have different thresholds of being overworked, though.

  39. Holly, I’m so glad you took that step and left your job. Now you can do work that you love and be a wife, mom, friend, etc. You can be YOU!

    When I was teaching public school, I was working around the clock and on weekends. CJ and I talked little at night because I was so exhausted. In hindsight, I know that getting sick was what forced me out. I took an antibiotic that I probably didn’t need just so I could get back to work quickly. My body had a horrible reaction that wreaked havoc on my nervous and skeletal systems for about a year and a half. I finally quit and now I have the happiest life I could ever dream of, and we just can’t believe that was us just six short years ago.

  40. I have reached that point before. It is just a question of what your priorities are once you get there. I eliminated the things that really didn’t matter and haven’t had any regrets since then.

  41. I know what you mean by working that much – I work around 75-80 hours per week not including my offline side hustles, but I don’t mind at all. Then again, I dont’ have a family.

  42. Glad you came out of it. I’ve been miserable at my last job for about two years but I had the motivation to keep going to make an early exit, it was 10 min bicycle from home so allowed me to have side hustles etc, and it would have been really complicated to find another similar job close to home. But I felt so light the day I gave my resignation!

  43. Being overworked is a bad place to be. I feel that way now and I’m by myself. I couldn’t imagine throwing kids and a husband I’m the mix. I’m hoping to grow my businesses enough now so that when I do decide to have kids n a husband, I’ll be able to work from home and devote time and attention to them.

  44. I don’t have kids, so while I work a LOT, I don’t feel overworked. I have a full-time job, but I keep it at that – just full-time, I don’t work overtime. I spend another full-time equivalent on my blog(s), and side hustles. I’m enjoying it but when I have a family I know I’ll feel burnt out. Glad you made the change!

  45. Holly.. I can certainly feel the stress in your words in that little snippet. It is great to hear that you have moved to a much better place..

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