When I read this BBC News article, my first thought was “I can stop at any time.”
“One major consequence of this phenomenon is that the line between work and private life is much more blurred, now that e-mail and phones provide a 24-hour link between employers and staff.” [see BBC News full article]
All joking aside, this is a serious problem for many people, and one I stuggle with myself. I have to admit I work more hours than I should, but I am not connected to the ‘net all day, every day, intentionally.
I’ve carried a mobile phone for almost 10 years and have found coworkers, managers, and customers respect that after hours calls should only be for truly urgent problems.
Two years ago I started carrying a Palm Treo 650. When faced with the prospected of web access from my device at any time, I have to admit I was very excited. With my mobile service, it is still rather expensive, so initially I held off because of cost. Now that I have had more time to think on it, I’m glad I made that choice.
I carry my Treo everywhere, and sometimes will jot down ideas, projects, tasks that pop into my head. Or I’ll take the time to work on a thought while I’m waiting in line somewhere. I don’t see this as addiction, it just gives me an opportunity to get the thoughts out of my head and on my lists (see Getting Things Done for more on how I manage my time).
With this approach, I’m available for emergencies, but I don’t give space in my head to every concern that comes in via email. I’m not sure if I will ever turn on web access on my device. If I do, it’s going to require more work from me to keep a balance, but for now, I’m able to use the technology to keep me productive without the constant interruptions to every other aspect of my life.
How do you manage this and keep a balance?