Thursday, July 7, 2011

Top-Five Tips for Digital Work/Life Balance ...

From MediaPost:

1. Be focused: The only way to maintain a work/life balance is to kick ass in the work portion of the equation. If you are not razor-focused, super-productive, and aim to achieve greatness daily, then you can kiss the life balance away.

2. Identify "time sucks": We all get caught up in certain activities that suck up time that can be better used for more productive tasks. Spending extra time on the phone or at the office with chatty colleagues, spending all day at a conference that doesn't add value to your career, long lunches, or spending too much time on Facebook or other social media for non-business purposes will do nothing for your career, nor for your ability to have a rewarding life outside of the office. Remember rule #1: the more focused and productive you are at work, the more time you'll have to enjoy the things in life that you work so hard for.

3. Set boundaries: Decide when to start and stop your workday and try to stick to these hours as much as possible. Hint: most successful people wake up early and start working early. It's a disproportionately uninterrupted and productive time of day. When you have stopped working, don't give in to the urge to check your email or Twitter every five minutes while out to dinner with your spouse or hanging with your friends. I know, easier said than done. Don't ignore important projects that require a little extra time either, but don't burn yourself out after hours, which will leave you less productive during the time within your boundaries.

4. Exercise your body & mind: While this column is not the forum to preach exercise, getting the blood moving does actually help provide more energy during the day. Try to work exercise into your schedule. Additionally, don't forget to add a little intellectual stimulation outside of your core professional category on a regular basis. It's important to keep the mind sharp and the body moving.

5. Periodically shut out your digital life: When off the grid - try to actually be off the grid. Live in the here and now. Spend time with those around you and enjoy the physical world. Ignore your mobile device as much as you can. You'll be better off for it, personally and professionally.

Whether your role is in management or still working up the ranks, it is important to understand that work/life balance promotes success. The Gen X and Gen Y workforce in particular gets a pretty bad rap as the "entitled generation" for not wanting to wait until retirement to enjoy life. There's nothing wrong with that. Of course, there is a difference between not wanting to work until all hours of the night and slacking off. It takes new leadership and management skills to manage today's workforce. Work/life balance is as much a cultural change for organizations as it is a personal shift for employees.