One of the first lessons that I learned as a consultant was “just because I can, it doesn’t mean I should”. For example, just because I can do my own taxes, doesn’t mean I should. I’ve found hiring an accountant saves me time (that I can spend with clients) and saves me money.
In my personal life, just because I can change a tire, doesn’t mean I should. AAA arrives quickly and does a great job. It saves me from the frustration and getting really dirty. Besides, it’s a membership benefit.
But most importantly, just because I work from home and can work anytime, doesn’t mean I should work all the time. Today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos reminded me the same goes with technology. Just because I have great technology that allows me to work anytime, doesn’t mean I should work anytime.
I don’t draw a lot of boundaries between my work and personal life, but I do have a few that are pretty sacred to me. Like I rarely look at my phone during dinner. Unless it’s to Shazam a song at a restaurant or settle an argument about trivia with Mr. Bartender (I usually win). LOL! I also don’t spend weekend nights on the computer. Right now, you can find me eating nachos and binge-watching old episodes of Chuck.
Enough about me. The point is, each of us needs to put some serious thought into our time. And how we’re going to spend it.
Establish priorities. This sounds so simple, but I find it’s really hard. So many times – especially in a work context – we’re told everything is a priority. Take a moment to ask yourself, “What are the 3-5 most important people or activities in my life?” Be specific. Maybe it’s coffee in the morning with your partner. Or helping the kids with homework at night. Or being able to have one-on-one meetings with your team.
Set boundaries. Don’t interpret the word boundaries to mean a lot. You can have just a few boundaries. Or lots of them. The choice is yours. Your boundaries also don’t have to be set in stone. Maybe over the summer months, you’ll have more boundaries and in the fall, fewer boundaries. But have boundaries. It’s healthy to have boundaries.
Make time for yourself. In the process of establishing priorities and setting boundaries, don’t leave you out of the equation. Where in your priorities and boundaries did you carve out time for something that you like to do? Just for you. Maybe it’s listening to a podcast. Or having a cuppa tea on the back porch.
Technology is a wonderful thing that can give us flexibility. We can quickly take care of a work emergency and get on with our fun. But we must be careful not to let those 5-minutes here and 10-minutes there rob us of our time to relax and recharge.14