Finding work-life balance in a technology-heavy world is becoming increasingly difficult. The constant bombardment of email, slack, news, social media alerts makes it harder to create “me time” – we’re always connected. I often chuckle at the irony of the huge suite of productivity tools we’re required to use at work, most of which result in less efficient work days. And because we’re so accessible, the workday doesn’t seem to end until our heads hit the pillow.
For those brief moments when we’re not working at work, we’re still … working.
We attend networking events, listen to podcasts, read books, go to lectures, on and on, all in an effort to become better at our jobs. Short of running over all of your devices with a car, what are we as highly connected millennials to do to achieve better work-life balance in a hyper-connected world? It’s harder than one might think, but we have a few tips that work for us.
1. Create time to work without distraction.
We often don’t notice how frequently we are distracted by the things around us while at work and unless you’re a doctor in the middle of an emergency surgery, there very few tasks that need to be addressed immediately. Create time to work uninterrupted by the distractions. Put your phone on do-not-disturb, turn off all notifications, close your email browser tab, toss in a pair of headphones and get to into the flow. When you’re focused, you’ll work more efficiently. That means you’ll tick more items off of your to-do list more quickly. When it comes time to head home at the end of the day you’ll leave work feeling more accomplished and hopefully with a little more free time for “me time.”
2. Disconnect completely.
If you’re not working at work, stop working. Be present in the activities you love. Head out for a hike, bike ride, coffee or drinks with a friend and leave your phone or smartwatch behind. It will feel strange at first – like walking into your office naked – but it will give your mind a rest. Once you overcome the anxiety of not being connected, you will be able to truly savor the activities.
3. Participate in your community.
One major factor in improving general wellbeing is being involved with your community.
And one of the best ways to get involved is to volunteer. You may not think volunteering can help you find balance (after all it is kinda like working), but studies have shown that volunteering weekly has an equal positive impact when compared to a life-changing salary boost.
You’ll benefit from a deeper sense of purpose, make new friends, improve your social and relationship skills, increase your self-confidence, and be more likely to stay physically healthy. Crazy right? So while working harder in the office may have an incremental benefit in your salary, it’s possible that spending a little time outside of work may actually make you more productive at work and happier at home.