This week, I participated remotely in a meeting with one of my managers and our team. During this meeting the topic of work/life balance came up. Concerns with checking email after hours and feeling a need to be connected on the weekend were part of that conversation. My manager, who received a “thank you for the plug” email later, told the team, “Brenda blogs about work/life balance, guys. You should check out what she writes. She’s presented to the team in the past. She’s going to DC next month to speak about work/life balance. If you have questions, ask her.”
Okay, reality is, I tweet more than I blog, but either way, I knew I should get some thoughts together to help the team. So here are a couple of thoughts.
First, about feeling like you have to check your email after hours. I get this…I used to be really good about turning my phone off when I got home. But then I got an iPhone. And I got used to all the great apps. And that red number badge telling me how many emails I have in my inbox would be staring at me. So I would check…and get stressed out about all the tasks that were waiting for me. Now, I go into my settings (especially on the weekends) and turn my email off. I can’t begin to explain how liberating that one action has been. It’s amazing how free I feel when I have no push notifications taunting me.
Second, about feeling the need to connect with the office on the weekend. Turning email off might help that a bit. But setting a boundary for yourself and acknowledging that weekends are meant for you to re-energize and reconnect and relax should help even more. I admit this part is easier for me. My three children have enough activities keeping me and my husband busy that I am rarely tempted to try and work on the weekend.
There are times when you simply can’t complete a task at the office due to meetings and other interruptions. Or you maybe working on a presentation and find you have more creative thoughts out of the office. But those instances should be the exception, not the rule. You are the one who controls your life balance. Begin with baby steps….turn off the email and take it from there.