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conflicting behaviors - i'm all out of advices to give

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  • conflicting behaviors - i'm all out of advices to give

    Hi GTDers,

    While I was giving some friendly coaching to a friend, a tricky situation came up and I really felt a bit stuck in helping with some good advice. So I thought to post it here and see if anyway might have some good ideas on how to deal with it.

    She is working (mostly on her own), more than she should. She recently got an order from a doctor to stop working like that because its harming her health.
    Taking that into consideration, and because she is aware of her body and cares about it, she made a plan to have a strict working schedule, and to leave always at 7pm.

    What happens most of the time, is that at 7pm she wants to go on for a little longer. Most of the times, that little longer becomes 2 or 3 hours more.

    I asked her why she was doing this and she said that she loves the work, and that it gives her lots of energy and enthusiasm, and sometimes she even sees it as "free time", because she is doing what she loves.

    Still, the day after she feels the negative effects of that attitude and suffers physically and psychologically.

    I understand this very well, but don't know how to give advice.. it seems a case of conflicting priorities. Even David said that there is no such thing as a established "border" between work-life balance, each person defines its own attending to how they relate to both parts.

    any thoughts?

  • #2
    Does she agree with the doctor?

    1) Does she agree with the doctor?

    Either the doctor is wrong or she is in denial. She may not be self-aware enough.

    Many people do things for reasons they don't understand until later (if ever). Heck, we all do.

    Sounds like she is telling herself that she is enjoying something when she is actually doing it for another reason. I'm of the opinion that the doctor is basing his conclusions on some evidence.


    • #3
      She agrees with the doctor, and she is very aware of what is happening, and she WANTS to stop it. But when the time comes, she just feels like going on for a little more... (kind of like a drug addict really lol )


      • #4

        Only so much friendly coaching advice you can give an adult. They make their own choices and deal with the consequences.


        • #5
          there is a way

          She is quite a rational and very intelligent person. I'm sure I'm missing something here, and that we can actually find a "flaw" in this psychological process and fix it!


          • #6
            I think your comment about addiction probably identifies one of the key issues - she is hooked on working. Two possibilities:

            1) deal with it behaviourally - put something in place that prevents her continuing e.g. a timer that turns the computer off, someone ringing her at 7pm

            2) look at the underlying causes of the "addiction". Is she doing it to avoid something else? Does she not have anything else as rewarding e.g. family, hobbies?

            Some people are married to their jobs, and that's just the way they are. But if she really wants to kick the habit, she's going to have to treat it like any other habit e.g. stopping smoking. And that's hard work!



            • #7
              There is a possibility that the up-and-down cycle is not under your friend's control, and well-meaning attempts to help will fail.


              • #8
                Change the goal

                Ask her if she wants to keep doing what she's doing for a long time. Then tell her to leave at 4:30 if she stays and extra hour then it's not so bad.