Is Technology Hurting or Helping Your Work-Life Balance?
Technology, the great work unifier! We all have email, cellphones, apps, computers, WiFi, voicemail, video chat, and smart watches to keep us connected day and night. It’s fantastic! When tech becomes a problem is when work doesn’t stop at 5 p.m., but just follows you out the door, down the street, and into your living room at home. Before that happens, take a step back. Here are ways to make tech work for you, not make you work all the time.
(Image Credit: Tim Gouw/Pexels)
How to Schedule Time Away From Your Schedule
It’s possible to use your tech to take breaks from tech. Whether it’s a wearable that lets you know when you should get up and walk around, a calendar reminder to grab a book and some coffee, or just a plain old meditation app — technology can do wonders to get you to walk away from work for a while. Use whatever method you like, but don’t ignore the fact that taking a break is the best thing you can do to reset your mental clock and be better at working (and living).
Don’t Listen to the Robots
Ultimately, you’re responsible for your personal time and how you use it. Setting boundaries is important, not only for your own sanity, but for your productivity at both work and at home. Don’t feel guilty about needing time to tend to your family, your loved ones, or even just having a cocktail and some time to read a trashy novel. You don’t have to justify how you want to spend your free time. And you certainly don’t have to avoid free time to find some kind of value at work. That’s just nonsense.
Software That Makes You Take a Break
Popular work collaboration software like Basecamp and Slack both make working with a group easier, but also promote taking that all-important time away from work, too. Just because you can work from anywhere, 24/7, doesn’t mean you should, right? As Slack’s creators put it, “Do Not Disturb is here, for helping maintain business as usual (and make room for the other stuff too).”
Work Culture That’s About More Than Working All The Time
As Jason Fried promotes at Basecamp, a healthy work environment is about more than just working as much as your body can allow — that only leads to burnout. Other workplaces have it right when they encourage workers to take their vacation and sick days. Policies like flex-time, when used wisely, allow the outside life to become less of a burden (“How am I going to juggle the kids’ school schedules when I have this big presentation all afternoon?”) and more of a true balance when your downtime allows.
Get Some Remote Non-Access
When in doubt, go for that age-old tech disconnection habit — an actual vacation somewhere so remote, there’s nary a WiFi bar in sight. After all, vacation doesn’t mean much if you’re working during it, to.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you think tech keeps us more connected, or helps us disconnect? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.