Over the last few years it has been more and more common for companies to deploy smart phones like Blackberries and iPhones to employees. Using smart phones in the work place absolutely can increase productivity and increase the efficiency of communication, but it also makes it much more common for your work to follow you home at the end of the day and on the weekend. Even if a smart phone is not issued, most large corporations have other methods to allow you to work from home if ever needed, such as remote desktops or laptops with VPN access. Our parents needed to remember to bring their work home on occasion, now we need to remember to leave our work at work on occasion.
Businesses are pushing to get more work done with fewer people and while you don’t want to fall behind with your work, keeping boundaries between work and personal life is still very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Would you rather live to work, or work to live?
Determine and write down your priorities – Sit down and think about what you really value in your life. Your job may be important, but how does that stack against your family, your friends, giving back to your community, etc. In order to keep a healthy balance, it can often help to talk with your boss to determine what his work priorities are for you as well. Understand what he or she absolutely needs you to get done immediately and what can wait.
Schedule personal time – Put all your family and personal commitments in your work calendar so you remember when you simply cannot answer emails, phone calls or have meetings. Even if you don’t have anything planned it can be a good habit to set aside certain times every week that are considered work free times. Setting aside time for both your work and personal time will allow you to be less distracted at work by personal things and vice versa. Those small interruptions from work when spending time with your family may seem insignificant to you, but they often mean a lot to your family.
Reevaluate your productivity and time management skills – Do your best to make use of your time when you are working. Schedule your meetings in blocks so that the rest of the time you will be able to focus more on your work without as many interruptions. Learn when you are most productive during the day and make sure you don’t waste that time of day letting yourself get distracted with small talk or Facebook.
Don’t bring your work home mentally either – It’s okay to come home and talk about your day and maybe sometimes vent to your family, but say what you need to say and move on. Dwelling on your work is just as bad as physically bringing it home. Also, don’t forget you are not the only one that has stressful or busy days, ask your family members how their days went as well.