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Technology: Friend or Foe in Work/Life Balance?

Technology: Friend or Foe in Work/Life Balance?

Todd Wheeler, Concierge Resource

September 24, 2008

Making the most of what you’ve got

The good news is that technology can help you achieve life balance if used properly. Learning how to best take advantage of these tools is critical in achieving balance and becoming happier and more productive at work and in your personal life.

Here are a few guidelines to take advantage of technology, and turn it into something that makes your life better:

Set ground rules. Although a cell phone provides around the clock access, you need to set rules around who can call you, when and for what reason.

o For example, do not answer phone calls from work while you are at home – and do not answer phone calls from family and friends when you are at work. Have a special code (like a “911” text) for family or truly urgent work situations to let you know it’s an emergency.

o Be discrete in giving out your cell phone number. Consider it a very exclusive number. It is your prized possession.

o If you carry a Blackberry or other PDA and have access to your email around the clock, exercise self-discipline. Decide when and where you will check new e-mail, and respond. Just because someone sends you a message on Saturday does not mean they need to hear back on Saturday!

o For those times when you must work from home, on your personal time, take advantage of the benefits of a laptop. Don’t just sit in your home office, go outside and sit in the sunshine, take the laptop to the park where the fresh air will rejuvenate your thoughts.

Manage your e-mail: If you spend a lot of time working at your computer, turn off your email notifications (the audible or visual notifications alerting you to new email.) Set specific times that you check your email. Don’t look at, or answer, every email the moment it comes in. This can eat up a lot of your productive work time!

Also, when you receive an email, decide right then and there if it should be filed away, responded to, forwarded or deleted. Have folders in your e-mail system to organize the messages you receive, so you can archive them and refer to them later. There is nothing more unnerving than seeing “240 unread messages” in your Inbox. Do something with the email and keep this folder clean.

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