It wasn’t long ago that employees and employers struggled to find some stability on the work/life balance tightrope. In fact, it was probably just yesterday.
Companies that are more technologically advanced and provide options to have their employees “plugged-in” nearly 24/7 aren’t really giving them the chance to have a healthy work/life balance. Right?
I work in an organization that allows employees to be connected wherever they are. Some might view this as burdensome and unproductive. I view it as just the opposite, as it allows me to be more productive and is a sanity-saver. There’s something about the ability to check my e-mail on a Sunday night or Monday morning and knowing what I’ll be walking into the next time I go into the office.
But being able to check work e-mail from your smartphone at any given moment can, if you’re not careful, start to take over your down time. If you’re like me, any ding, ping, or ring my phones makes, sends me running straight for it wondering what’s going on or who needs me.
So what’s a digital-aged employee to do to maintain their sanity and still satisfy that craving to stay connected?
There’s something to be said for having a great work ethic and wanting to constantly prove your worth, especially during off-hours. But there will come a time when you’ll suffer from burnout personally and professionally. Set guidelines for yourself – say you’ll only check your e-mail once the kids go to bed on the weekends. You’ll still feel plugged-in and able to respond if necessary, but won’t be sacrificing any family time.
Cultivate healthy habits
Getting out for a walk at lunch or getting your family moving outside right when you get home, eating right, and planning meals at the beginning of the week, and family game nights: instituting these small, but effective changes into your routine can make a world of difference. Creating a clean break for home and family life for a predetermined amount of time before jumping back into “work mode” later in the evening (if you must) will leave everyone feeling happier. They also won’t resent you for having to log on to your computer yet again.
The power of saying, “no”
Everybody at some point in their life has a hard time saying no to work projects and social engagements alike. The next time you’re invited to something, weigh the benefit and cost before saying yes, advises SavvySugar.com.
“If you think the event or project will have a positive impact on your productivity, career, and networking without disrupting your non-work schedule, go for it. If you think your personal life will suffer because of it, say no.”
Schedule your time wisely
Your time in and out of the office is valuable. To ensure you stay on track schedule everything into your days from workouts, to 5-10 minute breaks to catch up on your personal life and make some phone calls. Also falling into this category is leaving work at a decent time. There’s no need to burn the midnight oil (okay, unless it’s tax season!) and turn down fun commitments that could leave you feeling happier and stress-free. Especially now that winter and tax season will both end before you know it, we can all come out of hibernation. “Getting outside at a healthy time will boost your mood and make you happier about resuming your work in the morning,” recommends SavvySugar.com.
I had to do a week-long experiment in college where I had to shelter myself from any type of media. That meant no phones, computers, radios, televisions, newspapers, magazines, etc. It was difficult, especially at first, but I made it. (It probably helped that I wasn’t on Facebook yet or didn’t have a smartphone.) But I’ll be the first to admit that I need some serious help in this area, but if all of the aforementioned tactics fail and we’re still struggling to balance our work and family lives – simply unplug. Turn off your gadgets and put them away. Reconnect with your family and friends. I know, it might be painful to go even a few hours without your “electronic leashes,” but you’ll be surprised at how liberating it can feel.
What do you do to create and maintain your work/life balance? I would love to hear your tips, and maybe I’ll just try to adopt them myself!