Technology, Boundaries and Taking a Break

Are you obsessed with your email?  How often do you check it?  Is it time to step awaaaaaay from the laptop?

I had an epiphany this weekend: what if I didn’t check email all weekend?  So, I tried it out.  Guess what?  Nothing happened.  Sure, I’m not totally obsessive about email, but working from home does wreak havoc on one’s boundaries (which I discovered quite a while ago).  The other thing that can wreak havoc on the home office professional?  Technology barking at your heels.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ALL about technology and the wonders it does for working from home.  However, if we don’t set clear boundaries about when and where we to it, consequences will arise personally and professionally.

So, do you need to step away from the laptop and engage in the real offline world?  And how can one do that?  Here’s some thoughts and tips:

You don’t always need a data package. I have Blackberry.  What I do NOT have is a data package.  Why?  Because I want to be reachable, but not that reachable.  Setting boundaries for me is much easier when you don’t have something nipping at your heels.  Like the Crackberry informing you of a new email… every two minutes… on vacation… on a bike … at the coffee shop…  You get the idea.

Take the weekends off.  Ok, so I don’t always do this.  But when my stomach gets heavy, and I’m ready to go postal on the laptop it’s time to step away.  I put everything down for two days.  I feel refreshed, honestly.  It’s hard I know, but try it.

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Set hours and stick to them.  Working from home has perks, like flexible hours.  Working from home has downsides, like flexible hours.  Don’t abuse yourself, cause you’ll be sorry in the long run.

It comes down to this, don’t overstretch or burn yourself out.  Working from home doesn’t mean constantly working without a break.  We’re people, and we need time off.  So, close your browser and go have coffee with a friend.  🙂

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