Stop with the Smartphone and start living life!
By Margot Bloom
Here we are in the 21st century and everything is faster - faster internet, interactive television, Smartphones…..but, as with all new technology throughout history, it brings with it new possibilities and changes the way in which we live and work. The most exciting change is the possibility to run a business from home or wherever you maybe, and this was an opportunity that I myself snapped up several years ago.
Technology offers new opportunities
In February 2012, unemployment records hit an all-time high in 17 years of around 11 million. With so many problems in the jobs market working from home and setting up a business is a very real option for many people. Technology today offers people the tools to go remote with their jobs and records show that it is a growing option which more and more people are taking.
I was one of those people. I’d spent a long time in the corporate world working long hours, paying child minders and feeling every commute – but I then one day I thought; “What am I doing? There must be an easier way”. I hated coming home late and cooking a rushed dinner for my children who were not only hungry for food but also my attention. I wanted to be the one who picked them up from school and took them to the park for a picnic.
But then this brought a new problem – the danger of always being at work. Working from home took away my commuting stress, but as I was now working in my home I had to adjust to a way of working that was both going to improve the quality time with my children and still get the job done. In the beginning this meant that I wasn’t giving anything my full attention. Either the phone was ringing or a child was crying, and when both happened it only added to my stress and nothing was getting done. I needed to be able to give each individual thing my attention, prioritising what was important and what was less important. I also had to remember that the core reason that I was working from home - to gain a better quality of life and to be in sole control of my career. So far I wasn't really in control of anything, I may have handled multi-million pound accounts in my previous life but that was not washing with my new clients or with my children.
Tips for success
Over time things got better, I took an almost corporate approach to running my business and my home, my mission was to create time and to use that time to put myself right back in the middle of my life. By the time I started taking a course in Life Coaching. I knew in my heart that the course was not just a personal journey. Something in me had changed and decided that I would like to help others achieve the life balance that I had found.
These days, society is too obsessed with multi-tasking and it seems that stress is a badge of honour and running a business in a way that I would call a “Smartphone Business”, answering emails and phone calls with a single device whilst on the move or not, means that you can never put it down.
It is true that when trying to juggle home life with work, inevitably there will come a time when a ball is dropped – emails go to the wrong person and children don’t get family time.
So here are five very simple strategies which improved my work/life balance no end, and stopped working hours and family time from blending into one another.
1. Actually schedule 'me' time
It is essential to take some uninterrupted time out to process what is going on in your life and to see what you need to do more clearly.
2. Keep to office hours
Whatever office hours you chose - stick to them and make sure that family time is not impacted by work calls etc. This is easier said than done, but it is important to ensure a quality work/life balance.
3. Hire a cleaner
Reduce your day to day house work. It’s amazing how much can be done by someone who does not have to keep stopping to answer the phone or send an email.
4. Set smart phone to silent during family time
If you have clearly explained your working hours to everybody who may be impacted by them, there is no guilt in leaving an email unanswered until you get back to the office.
5. ASK FOR HELP when things get too much
There is no shame in needing a helping hand or outsourcing to a more qualified freelancer.
These tips don’t only offer the secret to balancing everything successfully; it reveals that it is quality and not quantity that matters. Once you have mastered the art of balance then your own time is yours to enjoy!
Margot Bloom is a professional Life Coach who set up Mrs Bloom: Queen of Lifestyle Management after several trials and tribulations in her own life that saw her juggle family life with a full-time career. Margot now lives a much more sedate life. She wants to train others to know how they can achieve the ultimate work life balance Today, she has helped hundreds of people realise their full potential, whether it is in their home life or their business life.