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How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance in the Age of Technology

How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance in the Age of Technology

We are living in a digital age and are always connected to our computers, tablets and smartphones. Just a few decades ago, when the workday ended at 5:00PM, workers packed up and turned their minds off for the evening. However, because of our constant connection through technology, client emails, proposals and projects have become a part of time spent outside of the office. These extra hours and inability to step away from work have caused many individuals to call for a work-life balance, which places an emphasis on juggling work and maintaining a personal life with family and friends outside of the office.

Here are some suggestions for succeeding with work and your personal life both inside and outside of the office:

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Incorporate Physical Activity Into Your Routine

Incorporating physical activity into your routine is an important part of maintaining a work-life balance. Physical activity not only helps to refresh both your mind and body, but also provides mental clarity during a time of stress at work. In addition to this, it keeps your body in optimal physical shape, which makes you feel more productive and healthy. Summer is the perfect time to place an emphasis on physical activity. If your schedule does not allow for going to the gym before or after work consider making this a part of your workday. Step away from your desk and take a walk with a co-worker to gain a new perspective and exercise your muscles.

Separating from Electronic Devices

Another important aspect of maintaining a work-life balance is separating from electronic devices during evenings and weekends. If you feel the need to complete extra work or respond to emails outside of the office designate a specific time for these responses. For example, allow yourself to complete work in the evenings from 6-8 and then close your laptop. Or, respond to emails Saturday morning and then take Sunday off. Find what works best for you and your schedule and make a point to separate from electronic devices and clear your mind. While spending time working outside of the typical 9-5 has become normal in our current workforce, working all day every day is not efficient and will eventually cause you to burn out.

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Make Work Productive

The Internet and social media have made our lives faster and easier. Workplace communication that previously took place in the form of long meetings and phone calls has been replaced by quick email and instant message exchanges. While the use of technology for communication has saved us time, it can often serve as a distraction as well. This is important to keep in mind at the office. When you are at work make it productive and spend your hours completing projects and assignments instead of surfing the web or checking Facebook. Consider keeping a time-sheet to monitor your hours and stay on task.

Incorporate Downtime Into Your Routine

Take some time to do what you love whether that means spending time with friends and family or investing in a hobby. Having an active social life often correlates with having a positive work life so make sure to invest in what makes you happy outside of the office. This will provide you a sense of meaning and allow you to define yourself outside of a work role. Feeling overwhelmed by a situation or project at work? Sometimes the best ideas come when your mind is refreshed and focused. Grabbing dinner with a friend and discussing your situation may provide new light and a solution to your problem.

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Take some time to see how others in your office maintain a work-life balance and follow their lead. They may have tips to help you achieve the work-life balance you have been looking for.

Featured photo credit: Pasado por agua / anieto2k via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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