Leadership

Peer-to-Peer: Work-life balance

Written by PROFIT-Xtra

Question

“I just saw a TV commercial that shows a woman who’s climbing a sheer cliff face when her wireless device rings. She reads an e-mail and types a reply to deal with whatever the problem was, then resumes her climb. I hate that ad. Even if you love your work, as I do, can’t you ever get away from it? Now that technology can make you available 24/7, how do you draw a line between your company and your life?”

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Reader responses

Cinda Morales:

“The only thing I find effective is making it clear to everyone when you are ‘on duty’ and when you are not. And, don’t make exceptions. That means turning off all business communication lines and refusing even to discuss business outside your designated business hours.”

Deb Carpenter:

“For some people, it’s less stressful to be connected to a job 24/7. I once had a manager who would send me e-mails timestamped after 1 a.m. on a regular basis. He didn’t need much sleep. It was just the way he was, and you couldn’t get him to stop.

The rest of us who want a home life have to set boundaries. Turn your cellphone/pager/Blackberry off or put it away after a certain hour or on certain evenings. Make sure that everyone who needs to know is aware of your ‘blackout’ times. You can monitor your calls/pagers/e-mails if you have to, but only respond to truly urgent matters.”

Mark Lorray, founder/CEO, Lorray’s Home Services:

“You can make all the money in the world, but be unhappy and alone if you do not devote quality time towards family and personal growth. Here are some tips that helped me: Start your days early, follow your schedule, manage your time wisely, be disciplined, value time spent alone and with family daily, hire someone to answer calls after hours.”

Roberto Sangiovanni, founder/president, Auto Intel:

“As founder and president of an automotive marketing company, I can relate to the forces keeping us glued to our passion. To make the situation even more difficult to control, I work out of my home office! Therefore I am constantly a step away from the ‘let me finish that last bit of work and I promise I will wind down afterwards’ spaceship.

I used to have supper at 9p.m., have no idea what was going on in the world and have hardly any social life. I was totally consumed with my business. But I came to the realization that I could not go on at that level of intensity. After all, the reason and goal for being a CEO was success and freedom.

Here is what I did to slowly let go from work’s intoxicating grip: I got a second phone line for personal use, where only friends and family could reach me, I kept my business phone ringer on only between 9 and 5, I never never use the business phone at night, I break for lunch at noon and occasionally go out, Once a week I take a two-hour hiking, biking or walking break, I never open the computer on weekends, I never give my cell number to business contacts. If I am not at the office, they will leave a message, I gradually reduced the hours I worked at night to the point that I now quit at supper time, After a while I noticed a remarkable improvement in my ability to detach myself physically and mentally from my work.

Of course, it takes the same amount of determination and discipline we use for our business to implement these simple life rules. As far as the woman who brings the cellphone with her on a climb, she’s probably never been too far from her charger.”

For his answer, Robert Sangiovanni, will receive a copy of Canadian Income Funds: Your complete guide to income trusts, royalty trusts and real estate investment trusts, by Peter Beck and Simon Romano.

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Watch for another Peer-to-Peer Poll in the next PROFIT-Xtra.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com