Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Are you tired of being available 24/7?

Is it time to turn off your work emails, log out of Facebook and allow yourself some peace and quiet?

A recent article titled, The busier you are, the more you need quiet time, prompted me to think about the impact of instant communication on our everyday lives and how it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quiet time to think, relax and rejuvenate. 

Instant communication dominates our lives, allowing us to be in continuous communication with others.  We are bombarded with communication through mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, email, WhatsApp and text messaging.  Tablets and mobile phones have become an important part of our day as we cling on to them in anticipation, waiting for them to buzz, beep or ring.

According to research carried out last year, the average person swipes, taps and pinches their display about 2,617 times a day and spends about 2.42 hours a day touching the smartphone display.  Furthermore, 87% will check their phone at least once between midnight and 5am.

The acceptance of instant communication being available 24/7 has weakened the boundaries of time defining when it is acceptable and not acceptable to contact someone and this has resulted in the incompatible overlap of work and play.  If your boss emails you at 10pm, does he or she expect a response that evening?  Is it right to answer a work email whilst giving the kids tea?  Should we be checking Facebook whilst at a friend’s house?  Is it right to be responding to personal messages whilst at work?  The boundaries are becoming blurred making it harder to understand when it is acceptable to switch off without undermining our friendships or work ethic.

This bombardment of instant communication makes us feel overloaded, tired and stressed.  We are starting to see people becoming disillusioned with the continuous flow of Facebook communication or increasingly stressed by the constant access to work email.  The return of the iconic Nokia 3310 has even caused excitement as we reminisce about the days of being unable to check emails and Facebook on our phones (although, I have recently read that these may have 4G!). 

Is it now time to switch off?

Have a think about how you can temporarily switch off from the instant communication in your life and restore the boundaries of your work-life balance.  Can you turn off your work emails at appropriate times of the day?  Can you limit yourself to checking Facebook once a day?  Can you allocate a day, or part of a day, each week for quiet relaxation?  Perhaps you can go for a long gadget-free walk, read a book or listen to some music. Just think how refreshed, fulfilled and happier you will feel when you allow yourself some peace and quiet each week.    

Ensure you take time out of our busy world to give yourself time to think and relax.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Four ways to feel happier at work

We have all felt unhappy at work at some stage in our career and can recognise the impact this can have on our life.  Work misery can dominate home life, friendships and health making your work-life balance all about work and little about play.

If you feel unhappy at work, you have a choice.  You can keep doing what you are doing, making work misery the norm and something you ‘just have to put up with’, inevitably leading to high stress levels and further misery.   Alternatively, you can focus on making positive changes at work, giving yourself the chance to be happier. 

To help you make some changes at work, I have set out four focus areas:

1.      Support - Are you getting the right support at work?  Ask for help when necessary from colleagues and managers.

2.      Expectation - ensure you are clear about what is expected of you.

3.      Working hours – are you working long hours?  Think about your work pattern and spend time focusing on your productivity.  Are you taking too long on some pieces of work?  Do you set aside specific time for admin tasks?  Do you sit at your desk stuck on a piece of work instead of asking for help?  If necessary, speak to your manager about your workload.

4.     Challenge – Are you challenged enough? If not, perhaps talk to your manager about obtaining more work.  Can you be given a different project to work on?

Through making small changes, bigger changes will start to fall into place making you feel happy at work once again. 

Remember - if you keep doing what you are doing you will keep getting the same result.