By Rich Best

The advent of instant communications, continuous connectivity, and mobile technologies has spawned a whole generation of people who look at the world through a prism based on a forced expectation that, in order to be successful, people need to be on top of their business 24/7. Studies have clearly shown this kind of misguided devotion to one’s work actually leads to a decline in productivity, ill health, and overall dissatisfaction with life in general. In other words, 24/7 is a formula for failure.

Where 24/7 Comes From

Overachiever model: Entrepreneurs and business owners have long been known to be overachievers with a voracious appetite for work. In fact, many successful companies are products of the relentless and determined efforts of type-A personalities who sacrificed a normal life for the sake of business success.

Self-imposed expectations: Many of today’s entrepreneurs see themselves in the same light and harbor the same ambitions of the internet millionaires we read about. Thus, they impose the same idealistic expectations on themselves. The problem is, for each mega-success story there are hundreds of disappointments. 24/7 is simply not a guarantee of success.

Customer-imposed expectations: Business owners can also fall into a 24/7 trap when they allow unrealistic expectations to be imposed on them by customers or the marketplace. We live in a world where technology has accelerated the pace of accomplishment, and people get instant gratification with the click of a mouse. Customers now expect 24/7 access to business and quick turnaround on responses.

Mobile technology and constant connectivity that allows anyone to slip into a 24/7 work scheme: The fact that it is available and business owners can do it, creates a situation whereby someone with tendencies to live out of balance now has a reason and the capability to do so.

Where 24/7 Leads

Terminal stress: Stress has been found to be one of the leading contributors to heart disease. A body overcome with physical or mental stress loses its capability to fight off the free radicals that are launched by the stress itself. If poor nutrition or lack of exercise is added to the mix, the path to heart disease and other ailments is shortened dramatically.

Poor productivity: Stress, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition will lead to mental and physical incapacitation that will affect a person’s ability to function. The body needs rest and nourishment in order to produce new cells that are essential to maintaining mental alertness and energy levels.

Loss of perspective: Business decision-making and idea generation often suffer when there is a total emersion in the business without the opportunity for the brain to relax. When the thought process is locked into a singular direction it can get mired into a directionless flow of thought waves that produce little in the way of productive ideas or solutions. By allowing the brain to experience other sensations, it can replenish its creative juices and allow its user to have a fresh perspective.

The opinions of reformed workaholics varies over the best approach to solve the 24/7 malady. Many will stress the importance of finding a way to live a separate work and home life. Others will say it is too difficult to completely separate the two, but they need to be “blended” or merged in order to achieve a passion for both. Inherent in all of their advice is that the workaholic simply needs to take a break, lots of them. They recommend breaks should be scheduled by the hour, by the day and by the week as a way to chip away at the interminable 24/7/365 structure.

Rich Best has spent 28 years in the financial services industry, as an advisor, a managing partner, directors of training and marketing, and now as a consultant to the industry. Rich has written extensively on a broad range of personal finance topics and is published on several top financial sites.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank or its affiliates.