Enough Talks About Work and Life Balance. Here’s How to do It.

My Tips to Using Technology to Create Work-Life Integration

Day to Day Technology

When I think about technology, I am most grateful for all that it helps me accomplish and has brought into my life, both on a personal and professional level.

Like a friend of mine said to me recently, “your iPhone has become your home.” And true, my iPhone is beneficial when away from my desk, but it’s far from the only technology that I use.

It allows me to stay in touch in real-time with my colleagues through text, email, and of course, calls. I use Apple’s Facetime for videoconferencing or other third-party tools.

I use my iPhone to access business assets and data with apps such as Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, and to connect to the HP Network.

My phone lets me share events in real-time, of both a personal and professional nature. It really is my home and office in my pocket,  call it an office-pocket, that goes with me everywhere I go.

Make your Technology Work for You

As good as it all sounds, there’s definitely a downside to so much connectivity. I’m almost too available all the time, and if I let it be, it can encroach on my home life. To prevent this from happening, I’ve have developed a few rules to manage my technology better. For instance, if I’m with the company, I turn off my phone during meals, and I never bring any of my devices to the table. Not only is it polite, but it helps me with being present for others and to enjoy the moment. It sounds simple but when I’m out at a restaurant, it’s shocking to me how many patrons are staring at a screen instead of engaging in a conversation.

So much of technology has helped me balance my work and home life. Technology allows me to be flexible.

Here’s a common scenario.

I may be needed earlier than usual at home or am preparing for an especially long-day ahead of me with no time to waste on commuting, sitting in the Bay Area traffic. Working remotely is one of the solutions at my disposal to effectively manage my time.

the cloud
The cloud may seem like the answer to it all but is it really? Sometimes a paper trail is still what is best.

Pick the Best Tools for Collaboration. Try them out before Committing.

The cloud and tech interconnectivity provide me with a work-life balance often harder to reach when I’m at the office for most of the day. I find that working remotely can empower my team with the flexibility to manage personal lives and with work responsibilities.

HP offers a whole array of business tools and solutions to use to help us communicate and improve the workflow, so when our staff who is working remotely can join impromptu meetings.

When I choose a set of technology solutions, I look for transparency and tools that bridge communication with team members such as slack or Skype for Business. The more effective the tools are, the better the cooperation among team members will be, and better communications results in time-saved to spend on your home life and passions outside of work. Work aggravations stemming from using the wrong tools affect your home life, so it’s important to be mindful of it when evaluating the technology.

Choose a technology that contributes to cooperation and overcomes your business’s unique challenges, such as ensuring that everyone working together is synced to one another, no matter where they’re located.

Setting Boundaries and Best Practices

With accessibility, the importance of setting boundaries is primordial to a successful work-life balance. If these aren’t set, every aspect of an employee’s life can be consumed by work. I always set parameters for my work schedule and communicate my team when my work schedule conflicts with my personal life. Keeping “business” hours as much as possible is helpful, and so is respecting my colleague’s time away from work, as their own. Put together, these criteria set up solid boundaries.

I also rely on apps to help me relax, stay healthy and focused both at and away from work.

Apps that remind me to take a break, to get up, walk away from my desk and stretch, that reminds me to take a deep breath and be mindful are available and easy to use.

I’ve recently discovered Simply Yoga, an app that will help me squeeze in a 10, 20, 40 or 60-minute yoga workout wherever you are and whenever you need it. We now know that physical exercises help you stay productive and instantly reduce stress, so get moving. There are many apps on the market that may help you with reducing stress, sleep better, exercise, and eat healthier. Just pick the ones that work for you and more importantly, use them.

Another thing that I do is tune out by tuning in to iTunes. Music has a lot of healing and relaxing powers. The soothing power of music is well-established has shown in multiple recent studies that I’ve read. Classical and acoustic music are recommended for most benefits, and so are singing and humming along. Don’t tell anyone, but when alone in my car, I let loose and sing as loud as I can without feeling self-conscious. I find it to be a fantastic destresser, and it puts a smile on my face. Talking about smiling – did you know that smiling, even fake smiling can be a great stress reducer? A recent Kansas University stress study revealed smiling to be not only an important nonverbal indicator of happiness but that smiling could reduce levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. So even when you’re not feeling so positive, put on a happy face, and you may feel instantaneously better as a result. It’s what I like to call the “Fake it until you mean it” approach.

Remember technology is here to serve you, not the other way around. Know when to say enough is enough and turn it all off. It’s not because technology makes us accessible at all times what we must be. Finally, it’s really is up to you to set your boundaries.

What tools do you use to balance work and home life? Share them with me. Please share with us your tips and best practices.

About the Author

Vanessa Yanez -World Wide Head of Print Communications at HP – San Francisco Bay Area. Find Vanessa Yanez on LinkedIn.

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