Juggling professional and personal lives has perhaps never been easy but striking the right balance between the two has surely never been more difficult.
The prevalence of smartphones in particular has had a huge impact in recent years on blurring the lines between work life and non-work life. In fact, for many of us, the always-on nature of modern technologies means it can often feel like there is no line left to divide the two at all.
Here are some ideas on how that line might yet be redrawn.
Mobile phones made the working world a whole lot smaller when they came into common use around the turn of the century but it wasn’t until the advent of the smartphone that mobiles really started being used as work-ready devices.
Taken as a whole, the ability to pick up and respond to emails on the move and in seconds has been a big step forward for business communications. However, it has left millions of men and women constantly enthralled by their handsets.
Superfast and direct communication is great but at some point even the hardest working professionals need to switch off and take a break from answering emails.
Part of the problem is that we all now know that other people generally receive email messages instantly wherever they are and so not to reply can seem rude or even unprofessional.
But if you are at the point of being worried by you work-life balance and keen to take back some control over the way you work, it is important to realise that not everyone who emails you expects an immediate response. Some people will, of course, but most of us understand that our colleagues or counterparts are busy people who will come back to us with a considered response in the fullness of time.
There can be a temptation among hard working, hard playing professionals to separate out their social media profiles with paranoid precision. However, these days it is broadly understood what social media platforms are for and with a little restraint it is perfectly possible to share jokes with friends on Twitter or Facebook without bringing shame and embarrassment upon yourself and your employers.
Some professionals will of course want to maintain a professional persona on social media for promotional or engagement purposes and that can be important. For them and for anyone worried about privacy in general, it’s not a bad idea to use protected social media accounts for interactions intended only for personal use.
Most of us these days will fly into something like a blind panic if we forget for a moment where we’ve left our trusty smartphone. To be without it for much longer than a moment is almost unbearable. But, for many, this addiction is the heart of the problem as far as over-communication with the office is concerned.
So, if you’re worried that work has taken over your entire life then it is very important to find the right moments to turn off your phone and declare yourself unreachable. It may well be a strange experience at first but stick with it and you might just find yourself feeling liberated and reminded of what a proper work-life balance can look like.
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