It’s 11a.m. and I’m still in my pajamas. So far, I've written a business proposal, returned 80 emails, and spent two hours on the phone setting meetings and taking care of business arrangements. I've also updated my yoga class schedule and all of my professional social media sites. I’ve been productive and comfy. And now I’m about to sneak out of my bed (which has doubled as my office) and head to a yoga class.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
We're in a new age in which many of us can do most of our work at home. Thanks to technology, we're no longer bound to the office. For people with kids, this setup can be great. School's only a half-day? No problem. Lunch date with a friend? Anytime. Have to be at work by 9am? Never again!
The perks add up pretty quickly. This lifestyle sounds amazing, but it can come with some pretty serious disadvantages. The biggest one is that, if we're not careful, work never shuts down. It’s always with us, beeping and buzzing. It constantly feels like a siren’s call—nearly impossible to resist.
If you've ever had this type of work, you can probably relate.
Where was your iPhone the last time you went out to dinner? Next to your knife? We’ve made ourselves indispensible at all hours and it can become difficult to put down the device for fear that we might miss an opportunity.
Sure, we have all the flexibility in the world, but we’re starting work at 6am instead of 9am and going until midnight instead of stopping at 5pm. We may have unglued from the office, but we've been shackled to technology.
What happened to the days when families used to eat together, pray together and vacation together? When they used to CONNECT?
My husband, a realtor, put it succinctly in describing his job, “I have no weekdays, but I also have no weekends!”
It’s important for all of us to separate our “work time” and our “quality time.” There’s so much for us to see in this life, and if we stay connected to our computers and phones around the clock, we’re going to miss it.
Here are 10 ways to make sure your work time doesn't peel you away from what really matters:
1. Make a list of your priorities each day. They can be work and non-work-related. Take care of what is a priority. Postpone what is not.
2. Decide a realistic time that you will turn on your computer in the morning and what time you will turn it off at night.
3. Plan time to prepare your own food and eat it without work or a computer in front of you.
4. Don’t bring your cell phone to meals or social outings.
5. Designate a “date night” with your partner.
6. Designate some “quality time” with your children and friends.
7. Make time to exercise.
8. Get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
9. Do at least one thing for yourself that makes you feel good.
10. Plan a vacation. Don’t bring your laptop or cell phone.
Now you too can have a more flexible work schedule and not be bound by ball and chain to your work all night long.