Finding Work-Life Balance

Photo Courtesy Fabio Bruna
Photo Courtesy Fabio Bruna

It’s a Sunday morning and I sitting in our home office. Earlier this morning I found an article on LinkedIn talking about the things you should do on Sunday to get ahead at work. The article made me think: why do we work so much and why would we work when we don’t need to?

I shared the article on Google+ and got some interesting feedback from people there. Some of them were remarking that work gives you purpose and you should do whatever it takes to be more productive so you can live a more meaningful life. Others recalled stories of workaholics that saved away for lavish retirements only to be stricken with cancer before they could enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Just like everything else, I think people need to seek balance with their work and life. Often times we talk about the “work life balance” but how many of us actually try to practice such a thing? We speak of it from a tangent as a way to justify an extra day off or with spite when talking about our mobile phones that alert us even during our times away from the office. How many of us actually work towards achieving a work-life balance though?

In my workplace I see people that leave consistently at 5 PM every day while others toil until the wee hours of the night, sometimes not leaving the office until midnight. Generally, these people share the same workload, so why does it take some so much longer than others?

Not everyone has the same proficiency with computers. Not everyone has stellar time management skills. Not everyone double or triple checks their work when they get done. We all have different ways of approaching our workload, regardless of how much work we have. Some of us are gifted with shortcuts while others have the take the long way to getting certain things done.

Because most of our work involves technology, those of us from the millennial generation have the upper hand. From a young age we were given a better understanding of the ins and outs of personal computing. A lot of us took computer programming before we even left high school which gave us the concepts of computing more efficiently. From just that grasp of a concept we can quickly create complicated spreadsheets, e-mail filters, rules and macros to help us streamline our workflow and spend less time doing redundant or menial tasks.

Older generations, or less technically-inclined co-workers don’t have those advantages and are usually left to take the “long way” to getting things done. Sure, we could share these tools, concepts and shortcuts, but without the core concepts that we were taught at such a young age, others won’t be able to formulate their own solutions to time-consuming tasks.

Instead of working harder, we should all focus on working smarter. Some of us have advantages that others don’t, but we should recognize those advantages and share what we can with others to improve their efficiency. The smarter we work, the more we can move forward.

For all of those things that take so much time, there is probably an easier way to do them. Perhaps if we all worked together we could find, implement and share solutions to make all of our work a little more easier. Then, with that extra time, we could do what we were put here to do: live.

Now that’s what I call work-life balance.

 

 

Why You Need a Good Support System

One of the freedoms of being an entrepreneur is exactly that: freedom. You can try a million different things, you can make changes on the fly and you can ultimately chose to do whatever it is you want to do however it is you want to do it. But, let’s face it, sometimes things go wrong.

Inevitably, you are going to be faced with a situation, a problem or an issue that you don’t have all of the answers for. Maybe you get too far in over your head with a particular project, or a client asks you for one thing, and it turns out they are really looking for something completely different. Having a good support system in place will make you shine in these circumstances. Continue reading Why You Need a Good Support System

How Much is Convenience Worth?

The Consumerist recently posted about two articles, one from +CNBC and the other from +The New York Times about the price of single-serving coffee packages.

I, for one, own a single-serving brewing system. I am a fan of the device (a Keurig) because it removes a lot of barriers from me brewing my own coffee. The most important of these barriers in time.

Before owning my Keurig, it took a lot of effort to brew a cup of coffee. More often than not, when I would brew a “pot” of coffee in the morning, most of it would go to waste. So, between cleaning the pot, cleaning the basket and measuring the cofee each morning I was spending a lot of time. Even after all of the preparation I would have to wait several minutes for the stuff to brew.

Now I find myself flying down the stairs with an extra 15 minutes of sleep, ready to press a button while I grab my banana and have my coffee in my thermos, the exact amount, the right temperature, perfectly fresh and all ready to go. I realize that on a “cost-per-pound” basis, this is way more than I would ever consider paying for high end coffee.

photo by rudolf_schuba on Flickr

+Starbucks Coffee offers select roasts for $13.95/lb and I’m paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $25-$30. Surely, this is way more expensive using my perfered method when viewed in a cost-per-pound perspective. However, if you look at the amount of coffee that is wasted and the amount of time spent brewing a “pot” of coffee each morning, I think I’m actually saving a lot more time and money than I would with the traditional method.

So, what’s your bottom line? What do you think the convenience is worth? Just because it costs more per pound does that mean you’re spending more overall? How do you do your coffee in the morning?

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Photo by  János Fehér (Creative Commons 3.0)
Photo by János Fehér (Creative Commons 3.0) "Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and your favorite pen. Write down a list of things that you can easily accomplish today that you would normally put off until next week."

A Productive Friday Means a Stress-Free Monday

It is the last day of the traditional work week for most nine to fivers. In fact, most people in the United States will enjoy the observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, so today signifies the last day of work before a three day weekend. If you are one of these traditional schedule workers, you are probably looking very forward to getting out of the office on time or early today. Continue reading Setting Yourself Up for Success

Easy Steps to Help You Manage Your Overloaded Inbox

Need a Vacation Now That You’re Back from Vacation?

Now that you are getting settled back in t your office, there was probably a mountain of e-mail, voicemail or paper awaiting you when you walked in yesterday.

Customized Priority/Task Flags
Photo by Peter G McDermott

How is it going so far?

Coming back to the office after a vacation or the holidays can be a real shock to your system. It can easily feel like all of the benefits of your vacation have been negated by the amount of pressure on your shoulders from when you first walk in the door on your first day back.

Don’t let it. The whole point of your time off is to solidify your work-life balance. If you are spending 14 hours a day working (one way or another) and 8 hours sleeping, you’re only giving yourself 2 hours to relax.

Continue reading Easy Steps to Help You Manage Your Overloaded Inbox