You Are More Than Your Job, But It Takes Work To Keep It That Way
For IT professionals, work-life balance can be an elusive goal. Rare is the tech job that fits the old-school “9-to-5” paradigm. Many factors have blurred the line between work-life and life-life and have allowed our jobs to invade the time we should be spending focused on all the other areas of our lives that work makes possible.
Technology providing 24/7 connectivity through email, Slack, and texts has created an expectation among “many tech employers that their workers should respond quickly no matter what day or time it is. The explosion in remote work has made work-life balance for IT professionals even harder to manage. When your office is in the same place as your bedroom, kitchen, laundry room, and living room, tech workers’ boundaries between home and work time can be challenging to maintain.
Why IT Professionals Need A Work-Life Balance
For IT professionals, work-life balance is essential for physical and mental health and the health of relationships with family and friends. When you are unable to leave work stress behind when you head home or disconnect for the day, you are less productive, lack focus, weaken your immune system, increase your risk of depression, and are more prone to a heart attack. You’ll also likely face resentment from those you care about when your attention is focused on your job rather than them.
Here are some tips that can help all IT professionals have work-life balance and make themselves happier and healthier in both hemispheres:
While At Work
Work-life balance starts at work. The more productive you are when on the clock will free up your time and focus when you’re off. Try to do the following:
- Set manageable, realistic goals for each day. Make a “to-do” list, address essential tasks first and follow up those with less urgent ones.
- Maximize your efficiency by focusing on your work rather than the endless distractions of the internet and avoiding the temptation to procrastinate.
- Ask for flex time and telecommuting options. Even though many tech companies require workers to return to the office, see if you can keep it to less than five days a week or ask for flexible hours.
- Take breaks when needed. Yes, you want to get as much done as possible, but giving yourself a break is far from a waste of time as it can reduce stress and restore energy and focus. Various time management techniques provide scheduled breaks. If you find it challenging to find time to get away from the screen, a quick Google search can help you get started.
Tech Employers: Find tips to keep your IT employees happy in our article, How To Get – and Keep – the Best IT Staff
While Away From Work
Perhaps the most critical thing tech workers can do to separate work from the rest of their lives is to set boundaries. When technology allows supervisors, colleagues, customers, and others to contact you any time, day or night, it is up to you to draw the line as to when to read or respond. You will always have more work to do, and you’ll need the discipline to keep your job from taking over your life.
That being said, if your company expects you to be accessible during agreed-upon hours, it is vital that you are available to do your job. Doing so will build trust with your employer, and they will be more likely to respect your off-the-clock time.
If you have the luxury of working when (and where) you like, take advantage of it. But whatever that time is that you set for work to end for the day, power down your computer, put your work email, text, or Slack alerts on do-not-disturb, and focus your attention on the rest of your life.
How you spend your time away from work is essential as well. Self-care is a hot buzzword for good reason. Self-care is about doing things that can increase your physical, mental, and emotional health, all of which are necessary for well-being, happiness, and work-life balance. IT professionals can practice self-care in many ways, including:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Improving our strength and balance
- Addressing mental health issues
- Seeing a doctor regularly
- Engaging in activities or spending time with people that make us happy
- Being present when with others
- Dealing with stress in a positive way
IT Professionals: Work-Life Balance Is Out There. GTN Can Help You Find It.
The right tech job, the one that will bring you professional satisfaction while allowing you to flourish in the other realms of your life, is out there. GTN Technical Staffing can help you find the IT career you deserve. Contact us today to learn how.