Christina Perri’s latest mega hit might sound at first like the lament of an angsty girl in love, but listen again. It focuses on the difficulty of coping with pressure — something we can all relate to.
With today’s technology we are connected 24/7, and with that comes the expectation that we should always be “on.” According to the recent American Time Use Survey, Americans spent almost 9 hours a day working or in work-related activities. Compare that to the 7.5 to 8 hours they spent on job responsibilities just 5 years ago!
Think about it: When was the last time you were out and about and didn’t feel the need to “check in” with work? Even on vacation or at our kids’ sports games, we fire off emails, meet remotely and upload to the cloud. Now, with the bourgeoning trend of wearable tech, we are all living proof that the Internet of Things is already here.
But despite the Google Glasses, smartphones or Cuff bracelets, we are still more man than machine. You may feel the pressure to always be on the job, but like the song says, you’re only human. So how can you perform at the level you’re expected and still find that balance between work and home life?
1. Set boundaries. It’s easy to keep saying yes to requests when you feel obligated to stay connected. And over time, you could find yourself feeling overwhelmed with all of the meetings and deliverables. Instead, try setting some professional boundaries that allow you to take back some of your time, like blocking off parts of your calendar for a sit-down lunch.
2. Get the right tools. Working remotely has never been easier, and the benefits include a more flexible schedule. But keep in mind that we should be working smarter and not harder. Having the right tools to quickly connect to your team from anywhere will give you back some valuable time (and sanity) while you’re in the field.
3. Learn to delegate. If you’ve got more meetings and deliverables than hours in the day, then you’ve got a problem! Instead of taking all that on yourself, reach out to your team and see if anyone has the bandwidth to take on some additional responsibility. You’ll look like a rock star for managing your time effectively, and you might find some hidden talents on your team!
4. Unplug to unwind. Now we’re not suggesting a complete digital detox or going AWOL from work. Rather, consider the context of the tech you’re about to use and how it makes you feel. Maybe you need a hiatus from social media, or you need to limit how often you’re checking your work email after 7 p.m. You don’t have to go completely off the grid, but giving yourself a break from being connected is giving yourself permission to fully engage and enjoy something else (even if it’s a nap).
Remember that being busy isn’t necessarily a badge of honor. Constant connectivity can be a double-edged sword that could leave you feeling like a machine, and it could actually start affecting your work! So take the time you need to recharge your batteries. After all, you’re only human.