Categories / Technology and the Internet

General Assembly talk: Doing More at Work + Life

Work and life balance: Is it even possible? I’m a big fan of this topic of discussion! I grapple with this because I have too many hobbies, too little time, and (sometimes) too much work.

I was keen to find out the thoughts from these speakers as part of the talks organised by General Assembly at Working Capitol:

Here are the snippets from what they shared.

Definition of work-life balance?
  • [Gwendolyn] Life balance – making time for other stuff besides work
  • [Adrian] It used to be clearer when there was a boundary when working time stops. Today we are so connected, and we have an immense choice to make time for work passions as an extension of yourself. 
What makes it hard to manage a work-life balance? 
  • [Gwendolyn] Different time zones: Early morning and late night calls with New York. Been used to four hours of sleep, though this has gotten better.
  • [Ruth] School runs from 8AM to 6PM, so up by 4AM on some mornings. Two-year-old toddler to take care of.
  • [Adrian] In charge of aervice that runs 24/7; with meetings, partnerships. Data roaming overseas is the worst thing ever!
How do you manage your energy? 
  • [Gwendolyn] Take 20-25 minute naps, or 1.5 to 3 hour polyphasic sleeps. Have ‘no-technology’ holidays. Do not allow people to just schedule meetings in. Do mental recharging with meditation.
  • [Ruth] Squeeze a quick workout in the morning. Set hard stop times for students to contact via WhatsApp (had a 3AM message before). Plan meals ahead of time. Schedule interactions in the morning (more productive) and research in the afternoon. Pomodoro methods – 25 mins and 5 mins of work.
  • [Adrian] Do the important non-time sensitive stuff after dinner. Plan play first (e.g. time for vacations) and slot work around it. Work out by cycling.
How do you manage information overload? 
  • [Gwendolyn] Impossible to separate ‘labels’ on people. Get people to send e-mails instead of over staccato chats. Take one-minute to send out quick e-mails. Started on vipassana meditation.
  • [Ruth] Concentrate on a few mediums to be contactable, e.g. WhatsApp only.
  • [Adrian] I have my phone on vibrate all the time – it’s not possible to be away due to the 24/7 nature of the job.
Highly recommended advice for your younger self:
  • [Gwendolyn] Meditate. Sleep more.
  • [Ruth] Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Remember that some things like family are glass balls never to be dropped; whereas work is a rubber ball.
  • [Adrian] Listen to the song ‘Don’t forget the sunscreen’. Try everything. Don’t worry, it’s going to be okay.
What technology or apps help you?:
  • Evernote: For keeping notes and notebooks
  • Wunderlist, Todoist: For lists of things to do
  • Asana: Work and task tracker
  • Google Calendar: To manage calendars
  • Google for Work: For collaboration
  • Doodle, Setmore: For scheduling calendars
  • MyFitnessPal, DAREBEE: For exercising and fitness
  • Fitbit: To help track sleep
  • Pomodoro: To manage time in batches
  • Coach.me: Habit-tracking app
Key takeaways from the talk? The speakers seem to promote a work-life blend instead of a work-life balance. It’s never impossible to divide work and life in today’s ultra-connected world, but we can choose to allocate times to manage the blend better.

 

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