Part of my morning routine is to browse BBC while having breakfast. Today, something interesting caught my eye. Entitled … “Six tips for better work-life balance”. In it, a certain Mr Bruce Daisley is featured playing Jenga. He introduces himself: he works at Twitter, but at the same time studies work-life balance and how we can all be happier at work.
In his video, he likens work life to the game ‘Jenga’, where in his own words he says, “Where we’re trying to add things on top while still keeping everything standing up and stable.” Doesn’t that just sound oh-so-familiar?
I did enjoy watching the video – which I will link here.
But for those of you who aren’t arsed to watch it (although I highly recommend that you do – it’s only 4mins 30secs, about there) and before we discuss what Daisley said, I’d like to add one essential tip, one I tell my friends time and time again:
Turn off your emails.
Fairly the easiest way to reduce stress is to just switch off any email links to your mobile. This I have done for myself, after a horrific case of anxiety and panic attacks at my first job in publication. I somehow liked the idea of being ‘on’ at all times, but as Daisley says … it just all adds up and everything scatters about in a huge mess …
Oh, God, now look at what you’ve done!!!
So yes, turn off your email app, and it’ll do you much good.
Alright, let’s get to Daisley. Here’s what he had to say:
Reduce the number of emails.
Are you one of those people who leave your mailboxes alone and surreptitiously try to avoid the numbers hiking up day by day (one friend had 11k+ emails, god). Do yourself a favour and just try to check them all to ensure that you have an empty mailbox. Imagine being highly strung one day and seeing: “You’ve got mail. Total unread: 12837273273”. The emergency number for Malaysia is 999, by the way.
Geez, what the hell did you subscribe to?
Take that lunch break.
Daisley says, “Now it might not seem revolutionary to step away from our desks and renew ourselves by maybe going out and about but in fact the habit of eating ‘al desko’ has become so common now that it’s contributing to an increase in our stress levels.”
Fair enough, you might not want to step outside of the office, especially since the previous point has instructed you to reduce the number of emails, and you’re telling yourself, “How could I possibly go out for lunch when I have a billion emails to go through?”
Mmm… emails for lunch. Yum.
Your body and mind are protesting the action of stepping out, but scientists – yes, scientists, BBC said – that going out for lunch ensures that you feel energised and able to get on with your work. So yeah, you might wanna hit that pause button.
Get in monk mode.
Cal Newport, a professor at Georgetown University in Washington, authored a book called ‘Deep Work’, where he speaks about one idea – that we should think about having a ‘monk mode morning’.
Here’s how: Go somewhere silent, where there’s no noise and no interruptions for at least 90 minutes to get work done, for twice a week.
Or just literally become a monk. You probably need the career change, anyway.
Ah, I admit, this is one the problems my own office faces. I think some companies (the very few, I imagine) do not encourage constant interaction between colleagues but expect employees to come up with new, creative and exciting ideas.
But a research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (says the BBC), shows that increasing the amount of chat improves the amount of creativity. People should be led to have conversations with one another – and it doesn’t even have to be about work. It could be about the latest episode of The Crown, or whatever it is people are into these days. Is it Stranger Things? I’m out of the loop. #grandma. Normal conversations eventually lead to work-related things … so it just sort of grows organically.
“I really liked the episode last night where he just kills all his colleagues. Anyway, I really need help with this problem.”
Have a digital Sabbath.
Have a good rest, a proper sabbatical from your digital life – preferably over the weekend. Yeah, I know, that’s hard, but you need to give yourself that. Take some time off work. Tell your boss that you’d prefer not to chat about work over the weekend because us anxious people would ruin our own weekends by thinking about Monday already. Work is work, but anxiety inhibits creativity.
Do it, Frodo!
40 hours is enough.
Most countries, especially those in Asia, celebrate people who work long hours. People who stay overtime are deemed ‘good employees’, as opposed to those who actually get their work done between 9 – 5. Countries like Japan have this thing where people die due to overwork (which, we’ll probably discuss in another article). But take it from the expert studying work-life balance, who says it’s probably not the best idea (to overwork, and die). 40 is enough.
K, my 40 hours are up. Bye, losers!
Video Source – BBC News