Donít Bother Me Iím Busy
WORK-LIFE BALANCE MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE
Finding work life balance is the ultimate quest for the modern workplace warrior. I like my time off and spending quality time with family and friends too but my problem is that I also like to work. If itís not my day job which can take me off on Internet wild goose chases long into the night, my other projects keep me happy, busy, and contented. I have to admit that I am an unashamed and unreformed workaholic. But I am still looking for balance in my life; itís just that I am looking for a different kind of balance.
In my view one should be allowed to work as hard as they like provided it is not dangerous to their physical or mental health, and as long as they do have the time they need to enjoy the other parts of their life. If you feel that you can be productive and have the energy to do it I also think that you should be able to work as long as you like as well. Thatís because I get a lot from my work, whether itís my paid time on the job or on my unpaid but yet fulfilling side projects.
But I still donít find I have balance in my work life because itís filled with distractions and time-wasters that suck away my productivity and leave me frustrated and feeling that I am missing opportunities to grow or be successful. Thatís what is driving me crazy and upsetting my work equilibrium. If I could only get rid of these factors I think that I could enjoy my work and the rest of my life even more.
I am working on it but it isnít easy. In order to stem the avalanche of e-mail, phone calls, and text messages that clutter my working world I try and get into the office or my in-box early. Except for overnight mail from several of my night owl associates and acquaintances those early morning hours are usually mine and mine alone. I can clear up the things that are left over from yesterday or last week and I can really focus on what I would like to accomplish during that day.
Itís also some of my most productive and creative working time and I have to protect it if I am going to come up with another of brilliant schemes or concepts. Thereís something about the quiet of the morning that just relaxes me and allows me to move into that Zen like state where ideas flow and I can be happy and at peace at work. Then of course other people start arriving and the phones and fax machines go into their endless whirl.
During the day I try and block off periods of time when I am unavailable to the outside world. Itís not that I am anti-social, not too much anyway; itís just that I get frustrated with constant interruptions. And when I get frustrated I am not a happy camper, especially if the intrusion is unwanted and unasked for. But in a world of cubicles and door-less offices itís not easy or altogether possible to shut out the outside, even for brief periods of time.
When that happens and I can feel myself start to boil I simply take a break, a work break. I may or may not have coffee during this break but I just get up from my desk and get the heck out of there. With cell phones and Blackberrys and a laptop computer I can take my work and my office with me. People can still reach me in case of emergency, which in my opinion is when the building is on fire, but I need the space and freedom to just do my work.
I love talking to people, by phone or electronically, but I have to admit that at work I prefer to be the caller and not the receiver. Too many people just donít know how to get to the point fast enough for me and I can easily lose my patience and my productivity if I am forced to listen to someone else all morning. To get around that I will often set aside certain periods of the day to return messages and to take important calls. That allows me to set the pace and the amount of time that I spend in communication with others. It also lets me give full attention to their needs rather than wishing they would just hang up and let me get on with my day.
Those are just a few of the tricks I use to try and get to my comfortable level of balance at work and so far they are working pretty well. Now if I could only figure out how to do the same in the rest of my life.