Technology is often considered as a bane or an intruder into our lives; whether it’s omnipresence in form of our mobile phones or as emails popping up or messages in WhatsApp and so on. This is after discounting notifications from Facebook / LinkedIn etc. which I guess we are comfortable with since we have subscribed them for our own individual needs & aspirations.
It is often observed that when the ‘going is good’, these intrusions are not perceived by us as intruding because we all like the limelight and good news they bring in. For example when a mail is marked saying you have been promoted and someone decides to reply all and starts a chain of congratulations, we are very comfortable. But if we reverse the scenario, wherein we are just one of the recipients of these bulk mails, we quickly write back to the IT Admin, saying ‘why aren’t we exploring the idea of banning the reply all button’!
It is glaringly obvious that one of the reasons for stress among most of the workforce today is their inability to draw a line between their work and life space. For some this need doesn’t arise because they believe they are Super Heroes and can take on all & manage everything; whilst for others it’s a fear / concern that they would be perceived as Non-accessible / Non Committed etc. and thereby hamper their chances of growth in days to come and for another large group it’s a simple challenge of not knowing how to say ‘NO’.
The art of drawing a line between the different worlds in which we live is critical for sustaining success in the longer run. It is important to understand & appreciate when we decide to hang-up our shoes, we will have to cherish Apple & Blackberries as fruits and nothing more.
So how does one ensure we are balancing Apple & Blackberries as Tech Tools and as Fruits?
• Respect your off time from office
Spending time with oneself or ones near & dear ones is a crucial aspect in healthy life. It is no crime to be off ones phone or emails beyond the office hours. Our stakeholders understand and will appreciate the same. All that we have to do is clearly share our expectations in a manner that they don’t not get offended with it. In jobs where in we are collaborating with stakeholders beyond our time zones, we can draw a simple discipline chart for ourselves wherein we can be off our phones / emails between 8PM to 10PM (IST) and spend that time with the loved ones and post 10 go back to our second love i.e. work.
Shying away from phones / emails during the evenings around the dinner time and spending with loved ones, short walks, music, catching up with friends, loving the pets gives the much required breather.
• Respect your weekends
Weekends have been designed with a purpose of unwinding and not clearing the ‘unread’ mailbox which we have accumulated over the week. Neither have the weekends being designed to laze around and not pursuing things beyond our limited realm of work & workspace. We can start respecting our weekends by learning to be away from technology and going back to nature – which would basically mean spending time on all those aspects which would otherwise take a back seat.
Putting phones on silent during the weekends is the first step towards cherishing Apple / Blackberries as fruits.
• Respect your hobbies
Why didn’t’ we ever get tired when we were kids pursuing our hobbies? The answer is simple- hobbies always unwind us. As we grew up in our careers somehow we learned to put out hobbies on back burner and released that space in life for work and work related aspects and thereby letting go the precious viable opportunity of unwinding.
Pursuing at least one hobby is the art of brining balance to our lives.
• Respect your limitations, remember you can’t do it all
More than often, in our urge to please others, we commit more than we can deliver, we strive for more than what we need to achieve, we dream of doing it now & here and not having patience for tomorrow and so on. In this need or greed to do more we forgo our understanding of our strengths and limitations. When things start falling short we externalize the fault and more than often blame technology for intruding in our lives and giving us the space we are looking for to achieve the ever eluding balanced life.
Technology is a tool which comes with silent / off button, choosing to use it or not is our choice and we can’t blame the external factors for not creating a conducive atmosphere for doing so.
In short we have to learn to draw a line, technology always has been and will always remain a mute spectator, and we can make it a bane for ourselves or a blessing. We can wish away saying that life was easy when Apple & Blackberries were just fruits but it’s not too late to ensure they still remain so . . .