With the use of technology today, we can work anywhere, anytime. This provides more flexibility in how our jobs are accomplished, and when they are accomplished. This can be a great asset.
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Without the appropriate boundaries, we can see technology slowly hurting our families. There was a study done two years ago by Accenture stating technology allows employees to be flexible with their schedule and that flexibility is extremely important to their work-life balance. However, 70% say that technology has allowed for work to be brought into their personal lives. That is a large percentage of individuals who believe technology creates work-life balance struggle.
Technology blurs the workday boundaries that used to be clearly defined.
[bctt tweet=”Technology blurs the workday boundaries that used to be clearly defined.”]
Several years ago, I was promoted at work and was given another person’s job on top of my current job. This led to extremely long work hours and taking work home with me. I was near burn out when I realized I did not have boundaries in place that helped me to thrive at work and at home. I checked my email at night, took my computer home with me every night, stayed late at the office, and even checked my email, while on vacation, in Hawaii (seriously, what was I thinking?!).
I read a book that described me; Mad Church Disease: Avoiding the Burnout Epidemic.
And it freaked me out.
I realized if I continued down the path I was on, I was going to burn out very quick.
I made a list of what I could do to create balance in my life realizing technology was here to stay. I realized that a big issue was having the technology at my fingertips. I also needed to be realistic about the use of technology when I had a heavy workload.
Here are 4 actions I took to leave behind the work-life balance struggle in light of technology and to leave the “nine to five” from 9-5 in light of technology:
- Turn off your email
If you have your smart phone connected to your work email, turn off your work email daily. As I drove home from work every day, I turned off my work email on my iPhone. It was as easy as going into settings, mail/contacts/calendar, selecting my work email and sliding the green button over. This way, I didn’t have the urge to check my email all evening. I didn’t have the constant dings letting me know a new message had arrived.
- Leave your computer at work
Don’t bring your lap top home. Seems easy, right? I struggled with this one, especially the first few weeks. I fought the urge to bring it home. I thought to myself “I will only finish that one ______ if I take my computer home”. Leaving your computer at work ensures that you will not do work that you can only access from your computer.
- Review Your Upcoming Week
Looking at the calendar at the beginning of the week will help you gauge what to expect in the week ahead. Do you have meetings in the evening? A big work project that will take extra time? Knowing in advance can help you plan out your week.
On Sundays, my husband and I discuss our upcoming week. We talk about both work and family obligations to make sure we are on the same page. This allows us to discuss any work obligations that do not fit into our normal routine that would cause one of us to work late or have to bring unwanted technology time into our home.
- Don’t carry your phone everywhere
Your cell phone may be the only phone you have at home. You may not have a land line. We have not had a land line for 6 years. This does not mean you have to have your phone on your hip every second of the day. Set your phone down, turn the ringer up, and be free from technology for the evening.
Only 15 years ago the majority of the world did not have cell phones. When you called someone’s house and they were not home, you left them a message. Many did not have answering machines 20 years ago. Delayed gratification was still in place. And everyone survived.
You do not have to be available 24 hours a day.
This is how I was able to ensure that technology didn’t take over my life 24/7. I made sure I was fully present at work during work hours and fully present at home when not at work. This made all the difference in the world for me and my family. These are boundaries that are still implemented years later.
Does technology impact your work-life balance? I would love to discuss below!
Here’s to the Journey!
Great post! I only get email on my phone if I manually push it and I only check emails at specific times. Plus I use the Airplane mode a lot. That way I have access to notes and my camera if needed but I don’t get any calls, text or can, if tempted, check FB. I also don’t have get notifications which can be super distracting. But it’s hard. It takes will power to set those boundaries, but when you do…ah, life is so much better 🙂
Thanks Camilla! It does take a lot of will power. I find myself being distracted by technology often these days. I am trying to put the phone down and keep it away from me certain times of the day but it is definitely difficult.