There Is No Such Thing as Work-Life Balance

In the digital age, it's becoming increasingly difficult to separate work from life, but there are a few useful tips and tools to better organize it all.
Personal Branding Expert, Millennial Branding
November 21, 2012

Employees should stop trying so hard to balance their work and life because it's simply impossible. In this social economy, everyone is connected all of the time and there is no 9 to 5 workday anymore. When you get home from work, you still have work on your mind and are answering work-related emails. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, is famous for saying "There's no such thing as work-life balance. There's work, and there's life, and there's no balance." She has children and oversees a major corporation and even admits that you can't separate work and life. Furthermore, millennials, who will comprise the majority of the workforce in the next ten years, don't separate different aspects of their life.

A recent study shows that 79 percent of people take their work-related device with them on vacation and more than one-third admit to checking mobile e-mail during vacation activities such as biking and skiing. Doing work on vacation used to be frowned upon but now people are more understanding of it. Here are some ways to better organize your life:

1. Make a list of activities you want to do and prioritize them. In the same way you might make a grocery list, you should also make a list of activities and tasks that you want to accomplish every week. As you accomplish each, you should check them off so you can keep a record of everything you need to do. It also helps to prioritize the different tasks so that you get the more important ones done before those that carry less weight. For instance, if you have a project due on Tuesday, then you can sacrifice more of your "free time" on Monday and make up for it on Wednesday. You can use services like Evernote to help you manage your life too. The service enables you to remember tasks, ideas and projects and you can access it on your computer or mobile phone.

2. Get your manager to support you. If companies expect you to do work-related activities outside the office, then they should let you do personal-related activities inside the office. As long as you are a high performer and your manager trusts you, you should be able to get their support. You should ask them if you can have a more flexibility at work. This could include working from home a few days a week or reducing your hours one day and increasing your hours on another.

3. Isolate yourself from technology. Since technology is causing you to constantly have work on your mind, get away from it once in a while. If you're going on vacation, don't take your cell phone with you because you know if you do, you'll be looking at it constantly. You should create a vacation auto-responder so that people know that you're not ignoring them but won't have access to your e-mail. The auto-responder should tell people that you won't be back until a certain date so they know when they will receive a response.

Read more posts about work-life balance.

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