Our constant state of availability is counterproductive

This week I received an email at 12.45am from a guy catching up with his paperwork and emails!  Ringing any bells?

Many are finding that 24 hours in a day are just not enough; the “normal” working day is stretching way into the evening and early hours.  With today’s technology, you quite literally never switch off; that irresistible urge to respond to a ring, ding or trumpet from the arm of the sofa, and once opened, the content of that email is firmly lodged in your brain, longing to be replied to – or worse still …. it’s late and you are powerless to address an issue, but it will stay with you all night.

We all ruminate over work during our leisure time, holidays and weekends; many find it impossible to switch off and set work-life boundaries.  Sometimes we just have to have a sneaky peak to see who’s just connected, whether that important meeting is confirmed, or invoice paid – we all still want to feel needed, wanted and loved! 

But if we don’t take time out, and by that I mean quality, down time, this constant “on call” status can lead to poor concentration, anxiety, fatigue and irritability.  Our levels of stress increase and over time all of these factors contribute to mistakes, forgetfulness and poor decision making. 

Counterproductive? Most definitely.  Possible to change?  Yes!

Whether you set aside time at the end of each day for an activity or relaxation, or take a day out – make it your time, free of distractions.  More importantly, begin to set in place small steps that make sure that you have managed your day such that all of those lose ends have been tied before you finish each day and that your “to do list” is ready to tackle tomorrow. 

If you don’t have enough hands to manage your day, think about the areas in which you need help; those tasks that you can delegate or outsource.  Could your time be better spent on your sales and marketing, while your PA handles your calls, manages your emails, invoicing and client liaison?  They are many ways in which you can tweak your time management and workload and alleviate the pressure on yourself to free up headspace and make that leisure time your own again.