We hear a great deal about the importance of work-life balance. There was a time when it was easy to shut off your computer at the end of the workday, and not worry about anything related to work until you turned on your computer the next day.
The advent of the mega-computer in our pocket (or worse) in our hands at all times definitely ended that work-life balance utopia. We are now connected at all times, and as such, we’ve seen basic etiquette about communication go out the window. Emails and texts come in at any time during the day or night (or early morning)! I remember when my daughter was born and wouldn’t sleep at night. I would take advantage of the time awake to send/catch up on emails. If I now see someone who is emailing and sending any time after midnight, I consider them a mad person.
If I’ve learned anything, it has been to recognize not the importance of work-life balance, but rather the importance of OFF. Work-life balance may be a myth. If you are constantly trying to balance life with work, you’ve probably already lost the battle. This is why OFF is so important. I realize now that shutting off works:
- I’ve taken my work email off of my phone.
- I turn my phone off more than I ever did.
- I discovered the Do Not Disturb function on my phone and it is a beautiful thing.
- I invested in a $25 alarm clock, so that I can turn my phone off at night.
- I try not to ever send or check emails after 5pm. If I do type an email in the evening, I schedule it to send the next day so that I’m not intruding upon my colleagues offtime.
I hope that others have realized what matters. How fast we respond to an email or text message isn’t going to matter in the long run. It’s not a contest to see who can answer the most emails. We are not winning life by constantly being on. In fact, we are probably winning more often by shutting off.
So, if I can encourage you to do one thing today, shut it off, even for a little while.