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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.

Actually, 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.


Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.