Tech-life balance is not a new catchphrase, and it is at times used as an extension of work-life balance. However, it differs in that finding a balance between the tech in our lives and living our lives extends beyond work. This idea comes to mind lately because of two books I’m reading: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing and Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (book review links not sponsored ones). The former helps you consider the best times to do certain sorts of tasks while the latter discusses the importance of distraction-free work time.
I am definitely a lark with a tendency to–SQUIRREL! Needlesstosay, I’m working to optimize my work patterns and make more progress on projects in my off-time. So what this amounts to is restructuring my life to regulate the times spent on what Cal Newport (Deep Work) calls shallow work out of my peak work time, which for me is about four hours from 9-1. It is not easy.
When I am writing and feel as though I need to research a particular thing, I make a note and try to move on. Otherwise, I will inevitably fall down a research rabbit hole from which I will emerge with little more than lost productivity. It requires me to go analog at times; you cannot be distracted by websites you cannot visit on a notepad. It is causing me to rethink the ways I communicate and the importance of the things I find I am prioritizing. Tech has plenty of benefits. It enriches our lives, but with all things, moderation is key. I will continue reading and restructuring and will follow-up. In the meantime, how do you maintain tech-life balance?
I think the hardest part of each day is fitting in the time to look for and learn something new. There are so many projects running across my some days, I don’t have much free time. It’s taken a while to find a system that works. The one thing I’ve learned is that, in the area of time management, few things are universal. Regardless, I’ll share what is working for me, and hopefully get some ideas from you in the comments below.
The first thing I had to do was get organized. You may have remembered my BUJO experiment. Well that failed, mainly because I would forget to bring it or not have a pen. I tried several mobile task managers, but settled on Asana. It’s a group project manager, but I love the way it looks on my phone and it’s ubiquity. Once I could better organize the projects on my plate I opened up a great deal of time for myself.
My biggest friends are aggregators. I subscribe to LibrarySherpa (which is powered by Nuzzle) and utilize Feedly (adopted after Pulse was bought out and changed). Also, RSS feeds have proved to be a huge boon. So for that last one, I fought RSS feeds for a LONG LONG time. I didn’t see the point, until my inbox was already full and was now additionally cluttered with emails I didn’t have time for. The RSS feed leaves it on the side of my Outlook, waiting patiently for me, and does not follow me when I get home. RSS has really allowed me to step away when I got home, as my inbox was no longer pinging early in the morning and late at night with some new post. Instead, on my lunch break I scan through my different feeds, open what links seem most interesting, and I feel decently informed day to day. Continue reading “Keeping up with tech”