Confessionals #3: Work-life balance and the act of unplugging

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In the last couple months, there has been a lot of learning has been happening in the background of this blog. I will be the first to admit that I have been really bad at finding work-life balance. As a workaholic, it has been pretty common to spend 7pm to bedtime working away on weeknights, and then also spending one or both days on the weekend prepping for the next work week. Constantly feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get work done or feeling overloaded/overwhelmed was something that I had trouble with.

After switching jobs in March, I started to set work boundaries and forced myself to avoid checking work mail, or opening up my work laptop altogether, to avoid getting sucked back into bad habits. Since my work mail is synced to my phone and I have absolutely no willpower when it comes to seeing the badge number increase on my mail tile, I started to avoid my phone after 8pm on weeknights and always keep the it in another room during dinner so that I don’t get tempted to eat and check my phone.

Aside from keeping it out of sight during dinner, I’ve started making a conscious effort to not check my phone whenever having in-person conversations with others. I used to get really upset whenever others would text on their phones while having and in-person conversation with me, but for whatever reason, I thought it would be ok to check Instagram during a conversation because it felt less intrusive than having another conversation through another medium. Weird how that double standard worked in my mind… I now try to be 100% present during in-person conversations and keep my phone in my pocket or screen-side-down on the table so I don’t get distracted. It’s amazing how much more personal and intimate conversations feel after a while. :)

One other thing that has really helped me to stay unplugged is biking. It’s pretty hard to check Facebook while trying to avoid potholes, runners, and cars on the road, so spending 3-5 hours each weekend on my bike has really made staying unplugged on weekends easy. Riding on a bike and being surrounded by nature also helps me to zone out and forget about the things that were “stressful” during the week (even silly things like, “Why aren’t my mailbox rules working correctly?!?!”). Having these few hours to completely decompress and let my mind think about whatever it wants to has not only helped me become a more calm person, but it also helped me to fall asleep faster at night.

I’ve been so fascinated by how these small tweaks to my everyday life have already made such a big impact and am going to keep trying new things to better my behaviours.

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  • So awesome. It’s the little adjustments that have the biggest impact sometimes – especially if they are easy to maintain and turn into life-long habits!

  • Such good ideas about how to set those boundaries. I like that.

  • Yes! I try not to use my phone when I’m with people. I don’t really use it much in general, I’ve really lowered my usage. And my Facebook time is lower now too, but it’s pretty much been replaced with blogging and reading blogs now! And I love when I go running, because I don’t bring my phone.

  • i need to do this more. I started out at first being able to unplug in my new job but then i switched roles and again felt the need to be always on. I should unplug though. Thanks for the reminder. we can do this!