Work To Live

Sometime towards the end of the summer I went to an SAP Community Event in Manchester.  I didn’t really know what it was going to be like but some of the subjects that were being covered looked interesting and it was free.  Plus, I asked whether I could go about 20 minutes before I was told I was probably going to be sacked next April, so they were hardly going to say no.

While many of the sessions surrounding Internet Of Things, Big Data and Interface Design were informative and inspiring, I think the session I took most from was at the end of the day when people from a whole range of businesses and positions within those businesses got together and spoke about managing their workload and their working day.

I took a few tips which I’ve applied to my daily routine:

  1. I take a walk to the other end of our site every hour where I phone someone, send a message or, as sad as it sounds, I catch some Pokémon.  It takes me about 5-6 minutes but, more importantly, it gives my brain something else to think about than the job in hand.
  2. I’ve started managing my e-mails differently.  Any e-mail that I’m only on copy of goes in a separate folder.  I’ve removed the box that flashes up in the corner of the screen to tell me I have a new e-mail and I review them three times a day – when I get in, after lunch and about 30 minutes before I leave for the day.  This gives me more time to do what I need to do.
  3. I’ve set expectations about those points and what my working hours are.

I mentioned point 1 to a few of my friends and they seem uncertain about how that can work in practice.  I have a very small attention span at the moment for a lot of things let alone work – I can’t remember the last time I watched a film without doing something else at the same time.  Taking a break it good for me and my work.

I get a similar reaction around point 2.  “Well, what if someone sends you something that is urgent.”  The answer is two fold.  There are other forms of communication more suited to urgency and, anyway, it’ll probably only be three hours at the most before I see it anyway.

These things are examples I use to manage my work stress and my own workload.  They allow me to be enthusiastic about what I want to do, concentrate on what I can do and filter out distractions.

When you think about it, though – and I’ve read more articles on the subject since – virtually every method I’ve seen of reducing workplace stress is not related to the work you do do.  It’s actually all related to the work that you don’t do in those of 5 minutes of Pokémon catching or the unread e-mails or when you’re sat at home or out with friends rather than in the office.

I guess only time will tell how these techniques serve me.  As I see it, our lives away from work can be stressful too and I see so many people bring their work stress home with them.  Having set expectations, I have some rules that everyone knows about so I don’t feel guilty about what I do so I’m happy to leave things behind.

If you can’t have fun in your job, at least make sure you’re doing everything you can to have fun out of it.  That way you’ll perform better at home as well as at your desk.

“Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Perch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Perch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, “This is my message to you-ou-ou:”

Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. Don’t worry!”
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing” – I won’t worry!
“‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right” – I won’t worry!
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing, oh no!
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright by Bob Marley

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