Saturday, November 22, 2014

Always Available

I recently removed my work related apps from my personal cell phone in an attempt to find a little more work/life balance. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. But I found that having those banner messages and badges pop-up on my home screen, regardless of the day or hour, was seriously affecting my family life.

I work 20 hours a week from home.  By home, I mean when I'm not at a meeting or stopping by the office for some reason. But in the last couple of months my work has exploded and it has gotten nearly impossible to stay within that 20 hour/week time constraint.  I thought that the convenience of having work messages come to my personal cell phone was the greatest thing when dealing with nearly constant emails and messages, until I realized that the line between my work and my personal life was blurring to the extent that I was responding on Sunday afternoons and the middle of the night (I've been a chronic insomniac since having influenza a couple of years ago, don't ask me how it correlates, but that's when it started).

Part of the beauty of working from home (besides wearing sweatpants) is that sometimes your schedule works in such a way that once the kids are in bed, you head back to the computer to put in a couple of hours, because you spent the day volunteering at the school or having a long lunch with your mom - there is wonderful flexibility.

The blurred lines of my schedule would probably not be a problem if I didn't also have two elementary aged children, a husband who works long hours, if I didn't sit on a couple of  boards (okay, 3 actually), or hope to maintain some paltry form of relationship with friends and family.

I was thinking back to the olden days (yes, I'm that old) when you had a landline at home, and a landline at work and that was it.  Maybe you had an answering machine at one or both.  If people wanted to get in contact with you they called one or the other and if they couldn't reach you, they called back later.  Can you imagine that now?

Technology has made it so that almost everyone is available all the time.  You can call, text, email, or direct message on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. It's hard to imagine not being able to get ahold of someone at almost any moment that you want or need to.  But with that convenience comes an overwhelming wave of technological contact and the increasing belief that instantaneous response is critical in all situations, no matter how mundane.

So, after having my 6 year old ask me recently why I worked so much, I decided to turn off my phone and shut my laptop on the weekends and focus on finding some balance.

I challenge you to do it too, whatever your "weekends" are, turn away from your screen and towards your loved ones as you spend time with them!

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