Having trouble maintaining a healthy work-life balance? These mobile tips will improve your happiness and your productivity.
Being connected 24/7 has its advantages, but it can also have its downsides.
For example, late-night emails and texts can leave you feeling pressured into answering them immediately–even when they’re not urgent.
Working with Microsoft, Dr. Mark Batey, an organizational psychologist from Manchester Business School, has come up with tips that leverage smartphones, such as the new Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL, to balance work-life scales in your favor.
So to deal with email alerts after work hours, Batey offers a simple fix: Turn off push notifications. If that’s not feasible, try to set boundaries, such as not checking emails at the dinner table.
The mobile office
Just because you work full-time doesn’t mean you have to be chained to your desk.
“Knowledge-based workers, who don’t have to be in one fixed place to do their jobs, should be encouraged to get out of the office and work where they feel most comfortable,” Batey said. “We all have our best ideas when we’re out of the office.”
The problem is that we usually forget these great ideas come Monday morning. Note-taking apps on your Lumia, such as OneNote, can record your moments of inspiration before you forget them.
When work gets really hectic, let Cortana be your own personal assistant. She can remind you about important dates, like buying flowers for your anniversary, or, if you need to meet a deadline, restrict who can contact you using the Quiet Hours feature.
And when confronted with a contentious message from a coworker, avoid the impulse to shoot off an email in return.
“Anything personal or particularly sensitive to do with work is better dealt with face-to-face or over video conferencing such as Skype,” Batey recommended.
No late-night emails
Try to respect others’ work-life balance as well. Even if you’re still working at 10:30 p.m., resist the urge to send emails. Unless a message is urgent, send it in the morning, when recipients can better respond.
“After all, you wouldn’t turn up at a shop at midnight trying to return an item, so it’s unrealistic to expect knowledge workers to always be ‘on,’” said Batey.
Here are our top tips to achieve a better work-life balance with the help of your Lumia:
- If you can get out of the office, whether it’s an hour or two a day or week, work from places that make you feel the most comfortable.
- Tackle smaller, simpler tasks on your commute with the Office app. That clears the way to attack the big jobs when you reach the office.
- Spend 20 minutes a day exploring new websites on your Lumia to inspire new ideas. This can be a great habit to adopt on your daily commute!
- Being seen as always “active” on messaging apps can put more pressure on you to respond, so disconnect when possible.
- Use a note-taking app such as OneNote to capture brilliant ideas whenever and wherever they strike.
- If you’re dealing with an angry person or sensitive issue, talk to this person by phone or with a video-conferencing app such as Skype.
- If you’re on deadline or in a meeting, don’t let an email or message distract you. If you must reply, acknowledge receipt and say you’ll follow up shortly.
- Don’t get sucked into email before bed. Your responses will be better thought-out in the morning.
For more tips on achieving work-life balance, check out this story on time management and these stories on what successful people do first thing in the morning and the last things they do before going to bed.
The Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL are on sale now and are continuing their global rollout throughout April. Will you be getting one?