I made a resolution to put my laptop away at the end of the day and switch off from work. It lasted about a week. Now I find myself checking my email on my phone every half hour or so. How do you guys manage your work/life balance?
Not caring about work
No, it isn’t that I don’t care about work, but I know that work is work. I’m paid to work 37 hours a week, and while I’m happy for that to go up and down as we hit peaks and troughs, that’s what I’m paid to work, that’s what I consider a reasonable week’s work, and so that’s what I’ll work. I’m just downright stubborn, I guess, but I’m quite prepared to fight the long hours culture that seems to be becoming increasingly endemic in so many workplaces. In my job, there’s pretty much nothing that can’t easily wait until I’m back in the office, so if I’m doing work at home it isn’t because it needs to be done there and then, which means it’s extra work, which means I don’t need to do it.
I have quite enough to fill my free time with, without doing unpaid overtime!
You can do that?
In all seriousness, since I receive work email on my phone, I will glance at it when I happen to notice the blinking light on my phone when something new comes in. However, I won’t reply to any correspondence during the off-hours unless it’s an emergency situation where things are offline (though I will typically receive a phone call, rather than an email when this happens).
I will still read up on things that are related to things I’m working on at work during downtime. That’s only because I like to do what I do and I’ve been in the tech world for many years–I try to keep up-to-date on things. Perusing the Sitepoint forums is one of those things that helps me keep my skills up-to-date.
On the other hand, since I do put in some work off-hours, my hours are flexible. Some weeks I’ll take a half-day, or maybe take an extended lunch or something.
You’ll find it easier once the kids get into activities - that curtailed 60-70% of my online time. Running kids to sports/clubs/whatever leaves little free time except what I spend with my wife, which I’m not willing to give up.
I guess the issue for me is that I am a freelancer so I don’t have set ‘office hours’ or a set number of hours to work per week. I have to make those calls myself.
Hahaha I Know the feeling, it becomes your life. I do however try and spend time with my partner through out the day and go out when I can, that is a good balance for me
Switching off is not the solution of this problem. You should to bring improvement in your resolution.
Yeah, come to my self-actualisation seminar on “improving your resolution”. Now only $599 while places last.
I have a home office (I’m a freelancer like Sarah) and I placed all of my electronic devices (iPhone & iPad) in it, so that I am not able to check them when I am not physically in front of my computer.
It was tough at first, but nothing you can’t get used to.
As a down side, it means I spend less time on the forums
This article is also worth reading: How To Become Uber Productive While Working For Yourself
Although it’s essentially about getting things done, it also discusses letting go of non-important tasks (such as checking your phone every five minutes).
That’s a good idea. I put my Mac under the coffee table but that doesn’t solve the phone issue.
You can turn off notifications for email on your phone (and tablet).
Yeah, it’s not about the notifications. I just check anyway. It’s about self-control.
Just remove email accounts from your phone/tablet maybe? That is to say if you have them on there. Otherwise just self-control. It would depend on how important reading emails and the like are. Do you read them because they are urgent or you are on call or something similar or do you read them because you can?
Switching off would be hard to do unless you have something else to occupy your time. I would imagine you care a lot about the work hence you constantly check things. Break it down and try not to check it in smaller time frames, then increase.
I agree that switching off is very difficult in our culture. There is so much information that is instantly available. If you are a freelancer, & everything is heavily dependent upon how quickly you can respond to fulfill obligations or meet the needs of your clients, it’s especially tricky. People are no longer o.k. with having to wait. In general, however, I find it very helpful for my sanity to set actual work times & let clients know when I am available/unavailable. I think it behooves us as a society to respect each other enough to realize that we are not machines…we’re people, with real lives…even though we use technology regularly. If you’re having trouble disconnecting, perhaps filling your downtime with something else completely tech free that you enjoy, ie. hiking, kayaking, painting that requires full concentration would be helpful? I garden…can’t check the phone with my hands in the dirt.
I’m freelance and need to be quite strict with myself.
I have a desk that I work at, haven’t got an office as such, but I work office hours and have a set break for lunch. Then at the end of my ‘working day’ I leave the desk and don’t use it for anything else. I do use my laptop in the evenings for social media etc but make a point of not opening any work emails. It is about self control, something I’m not usually that good at. But going away at weekends, or even just the day helps to break the habit of always checking. nothing like being somewhere with no wifi or mobile signal to mae you forget about work
Not a freelancer at all but no, we don’t switch off. Welcome to operations, if you want to switch off pick a different career.
Don’t think it matters whether you are freelancer or not. In today’s world, I don’t what career you in… getting away from electronics and switching off is just not possible.
I was listening to this podcast from blenderguru on how to be more productive. He was going over some suggestions he picked up from a book, what worked for some folks is delay. tell yourself you’ll do it 15 minutes from now. And then most likely you’ll be able to delay it some more.
And of course,it is a type of addiction, don’t pass judgment on yourself if you don’t make it. just try again.
Guessing it would take practice.
My brain has long since entered a state where it needs a constant influx of information. I am allergic to boredom now. Like you I should also learn to put it down but can’t.