Avoiding The 24/7 Syndrome

Discussion in 'Productivity and Motivation' started by JMorgan, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. JMorgan

    JMorgan New Member

    I published this article a few years back in one of our newsletters. Thought it would make a good post here...

    I know an acquaintance who used to run a newsletter business out of his home. It was supposed to be a "part-time" business, one which he and his wife figured would take just a few hours a week.

    What they discovered, though, was the business was eating up more and more of their time, until they suddenly found themselves listening to the business answering machine on Sunday nights, answering mail every day, discussing new advertising sources over dinner, and so on. They had fallen victim to the 24/7 syndrome, and it was burning them out.

    Here are a few things they did to help them pull out of that cycle, handle the business during "business hours," and maintain their enthusiasm (and sanity):

    * Don't leave the paperwork out. They found that if they left their mailing list, editorial pieces, advertising comps or other business paperwork somewhere visible, they were tempted to just "take a quick look"--- which often turned into hours.

    * Turn down the answering machine and the phone's ringer. If you've got a separate business line, be sure you're not answering it during your non-business hours (whatever you decide those are).

    * Designate a specific time to answer email. Even if you don't make your way through all of your business email each time you sit down to do it, try to stay within your time limits. Scan the emails, answer the critical ones, (such as orders!) and let the rest wait another day.

    * Take regularly scheduled days off. Just as you need a couple days to recharge from your "regular" job, you need to give yourself a break from your home business as well. Schedule your time off, and stick to the schedule.

    * Make "shop-talk" off-limits during non-business hours. This is easier said than done, but the idea is to find stuff other than work to talk about over dinner, or with friends and family.

    They published their monthly newsletter for 11 years, and never would have been able to do it if they hadn't learned to separate home business from their home life. Are you starting to feel the early symptoms of 24/7 Syndrome? Take action now, and enjoy all the benefits of a home business, without fear of burning out.
  2. Anna_D

    Anna_D New Member

    Nice article with great suggestions.

    I think that there are a lot of people on this forum that suffer from the 24/7 Syndrome, including me.

    I always try to avoid the grey zone; that means not thinking of my social life when I'm working and not trying to think about work in my private time.
  3. JMorgan

    JMorgan New Member

    ... if only we can allow situations to be like that all the time but unfortunately life does not work that way. Many of us who are aware of these tips that helps us become more productive violate them at times.

    If we try to adhere to them more even for just one, two or even three days at a time we would be surprised to see what difference it makes.
  4. pcwork

    pcwork New Member

    It depends on the person, if you have other interests, it is easy to avoid the problem.
  5. kdbbiz

    kdbbiz New Member

    I can completely agree with the burn out syndrome. When I launched my ghostwriting service last year, I was swamped with work, I found myself eating, sleeping and talking shop. After about 6 months of trying to work 12 hours a day and look after a home/baby, I shut down.

    One day I woke up and didn't turn my laptop on,answer the phone, or open the mail for 4 whole months afterwards(we won't mention how many emails I had when I did finally turn my computer back on).

    My mother and business partner had warned me, and when I shut down, she was very concerned. For awhile she thought I would never find my way back again and get working. But I learned a valuable lesson. I now maintain. MAINTAIN is the key.

    Now things are much better and money is slowly coming back in the way I like it. I only work hours I would normally work if I had an outside office job. My husband is happier, and my 20 month old son is learning new things every day with the time I spend helping him learn.

    Balance is so very important. Never forget.
  6. JMorgan

    JMorgan New Member

    Kdbbiz, I like how you put it... I now maintain. MAINTAIN is the key. Continue doing that and you will be surprised at the outcomes.

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