Cellkicker Blog

Do you work for your smartphone? Or does it work for you?

Posted by Rich on 1/16/2017 to Hints

Our cellular phones allow us to respond quickly, efficiently, and access data sooner, however they can also create problems outside of work when used excessively. 


If we’re available 24/7, our work environment dramatically changes our personal time - unless we apply appropriate checks and balances to phone usage.  Many of us grab our work cellular phone first thing in the morning.  And check it throughout our evenings.   We feel obligated, or tethered to check work emails and perform tasks that we quickly judge “just can’t wait for office hours.”  


When we feel pressure during non-work hours there is negative impact on needed relaxation.  Taking calls during non-work hours can make us appear rude when socializing with friends.  And when we’re constantly interrupting quality time with family, the wrong message is sent to those we care about the most.


Because maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important, try practicing the following:


1.Do your work at the office


When at all possible, work in your office during regular office hours. 

If you practice, you can divide tasks into one of the following categories:


1.   Important and Urgent,

2.   Important and NOT- Urgent,

3.   Unimportant and Urgent 

4.   Unimportant and NOT - Urgent. 


Category 1 tasks normally must be dealt with first, but most of your work time concentrations should be on category 2 tasks.


Be judicious in not wasting time on category 3 and 4 items.  Then you will have fewer category 1 tasks to interrupt your work day enabling necessary work to be accomplished during office hours.   Try not taking work home when we should be spending time with family and friends and rejuvenating.  


It may take time to re-create work habits, but life will be more satisfying.


2.  Allow Phone Apps to Help You 


When employees are given smartphones by their employer, we may feel obligated to be available at all times.  However, employers recognize our need for personal time and expect us to maintain balance between work and personal life.


The free Android App OFFTIME helps you manage this balance by blocking calls during certain times of the day and tracks phone usage while you are on personal hours. 


3.  Set boundaries by sticking to your work schedule 


Since one of the biggest problems we face is meeting the expectation to be always on call and available to answer emails, etc. we must set boundaries for ourselves.  Your employer may have given you a smartphone or reimburse you for your smartphone expense for work, but usually, that doesn’t mean you must respond 24/7.   Clarify this issue from the beginning of your employment.  Set up a clear work schedule and rules for when you should be expected to be available outside of office hours. 


All duties are different, with varying of need for after-hours availability, but always establish clear boundaries in your own mind between work and personal life.  


Technology is addictive.  It’s easy to let it take away our balance.  So,  protect down-time. 


Ultimately, it is our responsibility to maintain a work-life balance and limit the amount of out-of-office time spent on work.  By defining our cellphone hours and expectations with supervisors and sharing those hours with colleagues, we are enabled to effectively manage our lives lives.


Sometimes we just need to walk away from the phone and do something else.  Remember the dang thing has an off switch.  A better work-life balance benefits everyone.