Wednesday, 9 April 2014

When to stop

Working from home, the lines are always going to be blurry.  5pm (or rather 3pm, the start of the dash to pick up the boy from school) doesn't necessarily mark the end of the working day.  In fact, I suspect that's true of most employed people these days too.  There's always the evening, or the early morning, to squeeze in a bit more work.  There's always a smartphone within reach, and possible urgent email to check and respond to.

This is not news, I know that.  Digital diets and advice on how to unplug abound all over the internet.  I like to tell myself that I'm better at keeping control of it all than most people: I've never had a Facebook account and have never quite got into Twitter.  Oh virtuous me.

So why do I allow myself to bring work away with me on a family visit?  Time was, the laptop stayed at home and I was officially Off Work.  But this time things went a little haywire with a work project and I felt I needed to remain available to the client, to help them meet their self-imposed deadline.  The result?  Daily email checking and thinking about the project - despite the radio silence from them, which is probably because I told them I was going to be away!

I enjoy my work.  But I do think it's important to stop sometimes.  It's what I would freely (and loudly, and frequently) advise friends, family and colleagues to do.

Time to take my own advice and take a week off.  Will you reclaim your evening or your weekend, even if you can't join me for the week?

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