People Human Resources HR Executives Sunset

Life-Work Balance Tips (That Actually Work)

How’s this for ironic: I’ve worked about 13 hours today, and now I’m attending a Continuum Navigate session focused on… Life-Work Balance.  Yes, I think it’s worth it.

scott spiroActually, the session is “work-life” but I flip-flopped the terms, following the lead from HTG Peer Groups CEO Arlin Sorensen — who always told me to keep life in front of the formula.

Scott Spiro, CEO of Computer Solutions Group Inc., shared a few “a-ha” moments that trigger the life-work. In Scott’s case:

  • His wife sent him a “good night” note from tablet to tablet… they were in the same bed.
  • He started having trouble focusing on really lengthy tasks.
  • And the Internet delivers repetitive, intensive and addictive sensory and cognitive stimuli.
  • “The Internet seizes our attention only to scatter it.”
  • We are losing the ability for “deep thinking” because online technologies reward cursory reading, hurried thinking and superficial learning.

To break free you must: Acknowledge the power of the Internet on your brain — and then exercise your freedom.

  • Tip 1: The No. 1 think super successful people never do in the morning: They don’t check email — because it’s a reactive activity. Don’t let email control your agenda for the day. Instead, they pre-schedule email processing.
  • Tip 2: Turn off desktop and most mobile alerts. Only the most important things should interrupt you from work.
  • Tip 3: Have daily themes.
  • Tip 4: Outsource items like scheduling, note taking at meetings, follow-up on takeaways, NOC, help desk and on-site support.
  • Tip 5: Disconnect to reconnect. Disconnect from work to reconnect with your family. Scott goes to Disneyland once a month; quarterly weekend away with his wife, no screens for Friday to Saturday nights; no screens at meals; focus on interpersonal communications.
  • Tip 6: Check out the Pomodoro Method. Basically, if you have a two-hour project you break it into 20-minute intervals, with breaks and then your achievement. Make the rest of the desktop disappear while you’re immersed.
  • Tip 7: Pursue morning rituals — something that starts out the day right.
  • Tip 8: Exercise. It has a direct impact on mindset and state of being.
  • Tip 9: Stop multitasking.
  • Tip 10: Get sleep.
  • Things to Read: The shallows by Nicholas Carr, and Getting Things Done by David Allen.
  • Help: Asian Efficiency, PriAlto and My Own Molly are great experts and services available.

Bonus (from attendees): You don’t walk in or out of a house on a smartphone because you miss hellos and goodbyes.


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    Rob ryan:

    Now if we can just start getting people to accept the reality that 1. There are no secrets or cools tips to find this elusive yeti and 2. It’s just our “life”, the only one we get , and we’ve just gotta strive to start living it IN Balance”…. Hmmmm….. 😉

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hey Rob, as a peer of mine often said: “This isn’t a dress rehearsal.”

    Gary Pica:

    Great stuff. Here is my observation working with many business owners.

    I find that many businesses that run lower profit margins create such a reactive environment that the business owners struggle to implement a life-work balance process. Focus on tasks that increase profit margins and your chances of achieving life-work balance will also increase.

    Also, the myth of multitasking by Dave Crenshaw is a great resource for managing time and tasks.

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hey Gary,

      Looking forward to hearing more from you and TruMethods during IT Nation in a few weeks. In the meantime, keep the life-work balance going.

    Greg VanDeWalker:

    I highly recommend the The Shallows by Carr. Also, Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman is a must read!

      Joe Panettieri:

      Greg: I haven’t read those two books. But now they’re on my reading list. Thanks for the recommendations. Hope all is well at GreatAmerica. Please keep sending me company updates, etc. [email protected].

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