I listened to a podcast recently about work/life balance. One of the hosts talked about how a lack of technology used to form a clear line between himself and his work once he left the office for the day.
Email didn’t exist. Neither did cell phones (and therefore text messaging). So his boss and coworkers didn’t have access to him at home. And even in the office, they only had mail slots that he checked three times a day to pick up memos, announcements and other messages.
Three times a day seems often enough, doesn’t it?
Years ago, I turned off most of the notifications on my phone, including for email. I was afraid — at least at first — that I’d miss an email from a publisher or client and miss out on work.
But then I recalled how I used to have a dial-up internet connection and couldn’t even check my email all day when I worked in a bank. I just answered my email when I got home at night.
A while back, I utilized iPhone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature for two weeks. I set it up to allow certain people to override the feature, and I have to tell you, it was glorious.
Expectations for speedy responses used to be lower before technology advanced to the point in which it allowed for immediate responses. But I’ve long since come to the conclusion that just because I can respond right away, doesn’t mean I should.
Switching tasks takes a toll. According to this article, you can lose up to 40% of your productivity by doing so. And here’s a claim that says “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.”
I’m not sure I believe either number, but I do believe there’s some validity to the claims. Maybe it’s just the introvert in me, but I feel the need to protect my creative space. The good news is, technology allows for that every bit as much as it allows for immediate responses. We just have to control it, rather than it controlling us.