The eternal struggle between work and off-work time


If you have started working (as an employee or for yourself) you will know what I’m talking about. Work and off-work time quite often intermingle and sometimes trying to control this fact can become a task in itself.

Unfortunately that’s what it is: a fact. An almost unavoidable fact. Or is it?

time is money
Time is money

What can you do?

There are a few tactics that you can use to limit your work time from eating up your off-work time:

  • Put your family and friends first;
  • Have a hobby or pursue an interest or volunteer for a good cause;
  • Look after yourself and expand your knowledge (read books and magazines, watch Ted talks, connect with the right people outside of your main domain, etc.);
  • Be curious. I use GoHighbrow to dig into certain subjects, for instance, but there are loads of resources in the interwebz, for whatever you’re into;
  • Be passionate about something;

but also,

  • If you receive a company mobile phone, make sure to avoid picking it up during weekends and time off, unless you are required to by your position of course, and if it’s contractually agreed (usually you get some extra compensation for this additional availability);
  • Do not share all of your social networks presence with work colleagues. An exception is of course represented by those that eventually become real friends. LinkedIn is fine, as long as the messaging facility is not abused;
  • Do not provide your personal mobile number as an alternative to reach you if the company mobile is not on/reachable or if you don’t have one altogether. There can be exceptions to this, but make sure to clarify that it’s ok to call that number only in case of real emergencies: with great power comes greater responsibility;
  • Do not give in to the temptation of looking at the work emails as they come in: allocate some time for that, if you like, maybe on a Sunday evening, just to avoid huge surprises on Monday.

After all “time is money”, and your time off work has an incredible potential value for you: you might discover an all-consuming passion making you the best in a certain field, you might find a hobby that can make you extra money on the side, you might decide to open your own company, etc. There are no limits, bar the ones we impose on ourselves.

Time off is necessary: it’s a way for your mind and body to relax and recharge. New ideas will peek at you from the folds of a holiday or a long weekend. If you’re not looking, they’ll be gone in an instant. But if you are, looking I mean, then write them down as soon as possible.

18 thoughts on “The eternal struggle between work and off-work time

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