Work-Life Balance”Â¦Just Do It
Previously, I wrote of the network becoming more intelligent, moving beyond bandwidth. But, we need to step up our own intelligence, as well, in how we use that bandwidth. The sheer volume of email, spreadsheets, and PowerPoints can be overwhelming. In fact, according to a story I heard this week on NPR, The Radicati Group reports daily email volume at 210 billion a day, and on the rise. Add voice and video, and in the midst of constant interruptions, it can be challenging finding time to think; to create.Meanwhile, a few weeks back, Wharton ran a review of Stewart Friedman’s Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life. The book outlines the four domains where we need to seek balance-work, home, community, and self. Moreover, he outlines the need to integrate the different parts of our lives in order to perform better in all of them. This really struck a chord with me given my previous blog post, where I wrote about ‘presence’ or ‘being there,’ becoming increasingly important. Because just as important is what ‘there’ really means, and what is expected. (Is showing up at the dinner table with your PDA ‘there’?) This book suggests ways to find this out. And, it’s a great exercise in learning what is critical for you, your family, and for your co-workers. With the power of this evolving frontier, where the wall between work and life has been razed, comes a need to develop a sense of personal leadership. It’s all too easy today to get sucked into 24/7 work. We need to balance, by thinking about the entire composite of our lives, as well as beyond what’s right in front of us. By taking stock of core values and adopting a more creative, thoughtful approach, we can use the network to effect change and enrich our lives in ways previously overlooked. And, by taking advantage of automated features or tools that allow us to operate remotely, we can free up time to focus on relationships and passions outside of work. I look at my daughters, who are three and five. They’re not on the ‘net just yet, but do know how to dial my cell phone number. Each successive generation is becoming more and more tech savvy, where being connected-through texting, social sites, IM or iPods-is kicking up a notch from second nature. These are not the frenzied ‘users’ of my generation who go to bed with their Blackberrys and look to hook up with their fix as soon as the morning alarm goes off. For them, the network is just ‘there.’ And it seems that they may grow up never having to ponder the work-life issue. Perhaps by just integrating it into how they live their lives, they’ll reach their own balance through years of experience. And, they may be able to teach me a few things.