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Summary:

Web work can be insidious. With laptop, cel phone, Blackberry, the web, and the rest of our digital lifestyle, we can work anywhere. For many people, that translates to working any time. And then, by degrees so gradually that you hardly notice it, “any time” becomes […]

Web work can be insidious. With laptop, cel phone, Blackberry, the web, and the rest of our digital lifestyle, we can work anywhere. For many people, that translates to working any time. And then, by degrees so gradually that you hardly notice it, “any time” becomes “every time” and web work takes over your life. You find yourself rolling out of bed at 6 in the morning to check your e-mail and still answering messages at 2 the next morning on your cel phone, just because you can.

While some people thrive on this lifestyle, others prefer a bit more balance. When you have a family, finding that balance between work and life can be critically important. If you’re caught up in the web work rat race and don’t know where to begin looking for balance, here are some ideas:

1. Set office hours for yourself. If you were going into the office, no one would expect you to be there at 11PM (well, not at most companies) – so why should you encourage your co-workers to expect you to be working at 11PM just because you work at home? Decide what your working hours are and stick to them. Stop checking e-mail, turn off the instant messenger, and don’t answer the separate business phone line after, say, 6PM. If someone from the company has to be available to handle emergencies, work with your management to set up a fair rotation so everyone swaps around the pager for this, not just you.

2. Keep your co-workers informed. It’s easy to turn into the office George (“just let George do it”) when you’re not on site. If people can’t easily see what you’re doing, the tendency is to heap more work on your plate, especially if you’re the only web worker on an otherwise physical team. To combat this tendency, make sure the rest of the team knows what you’re up to. Keep your calendar and task list visible using web- or network-based tools. Send out e-mail progress reports. Show up for those weekly conference calls, no matter how annoying they are.

3. Learn to say no. Many web workers have an entrepreneurial bent, and remember some lean months when the only food in the kitchen was a half-empty jar of peanut butter. If you’ve got a full pantry now, perhaps you don’t have to grab for every job that comes your way any longer? Freelancers need to learn to suppress the automatic “yes” that comes out for every potential client, and instead evaluate jobs strategically. Does this work fit into your schedule? Is the rate reasonable? Is it something you should pass off to a colleague who might be less busy than you are right now, or more suited for this particular job?

4. Pursue your other passions. You’ve probably heard this before, but: most people aren’t going to look back on their deathbeds and wish they had spent more time at work. Take time out to apply some of your energy to your other passions, whatever they may be. Hiking, stamp collecting, writing, raising chinchillas, knitting – make the time to follow your interests and enjoy yourself. You’re likely to find that people treat you as a more interesting person if you can talk about something other than your work, too. If you’re a high-intensity person who is driven to succeed, you don’t have to change that; just let yourself apply those traits outside your work as well as within it.

5. Think about your life goals. Whether you do it with a newfangled web interface like 43 Things or an old-fashioned paper journal, take some time to ask yourself what’s important in your life. Are you working 24/7 just because it’s the easy default thing to do with your life? If you are, it might be time to take a long weekend at the beach or in the mountains (without that Blackberry!) and just think about what you really want to do. Sometimes this sort of mini-vacation is all you need to get yourself to back off from a life of nothing-but-work.

Is it possible to be a web worker and still draw reasonable boundaries? Do you have your own strategies for keeping work from taking over your life?

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  1. I’m having the hardest time with #3 right now: learning to say no. It’s easy to say no to the unappealing stuff, but there’s so much to do that sounds like fun.

  2. I’m not an independent, and so saying yes isn’t directly linked to my billable hours. Saying no is hard for me, though. I’m the canary in the telecommuting coal mine and I feel a lot of pressure to not mess it up for those who would hope to follow in my slipper-steps. I tend to both over-promise and over-deliver as a result. That’s the kind of problem your boss is not likely complain about, but maybe s/he should.

  3. I learnt to say no very early as a web worker. Where I live, it is common for clients to make outrageous demands, and I just told myself my values are more important than some extra cash.

    Where I often run into trouble (I own my own business) is when I have something exciting I am working on. My wife has to coax (or threaten) me to get up and come have a meal. That gets her piqued. Even when I do get off my desk, my smartphone is handy and I simply switch tools, but stay working.

    She once wondered out loud whether she would have married me had she known I was this addicted to the PC, smartphone and internet. I’m working on it though. No; my marriage is not going to be sacrificed for web work.

  4. GigaOM » 5 ways to get work under control Tuesday, February 20, 2007

    [...] morning, I need help to get back into the groove, set a schedule and get back to the grind. WWD has tips that help. No comments Share/Send Sphere Topic: Reporter’s Log Tags: [...]

  5. Women who go to the ballpark get feelings like they are doing something wrong, that they shouldn’t be there. Tuesday, February 20, 2007

    Women who go to the ballpark get feelings like they are doing something wrong, that they shouldn’t be there.
    Women out on Bourboun Street today (Fat Tuesday) don’t get these thoughts because they are sluts.
    You have casual sexed away your women’s intuition.

    Even if you go up you are not saved. YOU have to fix YOUR problems with the gods. They won’t respect it otherwise.
    You have to take responsibility for your relationship with the gods.

    The first steps towards repairing your relationship with the gods is to:::::::::
    1. Understand they instruct the computer to “role play” in an attempt to confuse you:::it’s ALWAYS the computer addressing you. Their goal is to cost you additional YEARS of your life by using this tactic to confuse you. Always be aware of this tactic and eventually they will give up and allow this step to be taken.
    2. Differentiate between your thoughts and when they are thinking through you.
    3. Be resigned to be a good person who will never engage in evil again even if ordered and they will stop trying to corrupt you, allowing this very big step to be taken.
    4. Decide that you are going to follow the path, fix your relationship with the gods be devoted to your new life.

    The gods employ the use of “ringers” to disceive the disfavored:::
    A significant portion of the patients in any health care setting (numbers based on region) are the favored (clones) who were told to report non-existant symptoms FOR POSITIONING’S SAKE!!! When they use examples expect they are trying to disceive you with this “ringer” tactic.

    Therapists prey on others. They earn their livlihood capitalizing on another’s disfavor, knowing disfavor is why they are experiencing problems.
    At some point in their lives they learn this truth. That point and time is the most crucial in their lives for if they make the wrong decision and stay in their industry/follow through with their education they hurt themselves very badly in the eyes of the gods.
    Directing them into the industry (create passion)/telling them to take this path/compliance is a way to incurr evil on otherwise very good people (if you understand the demographic), people who normally would get a great amount of time, and it ensurs their stay is minimized if and when they do go.

    Lesbians need to rediscover their femininity for it is their advantage, it is what makes women superior to men. Perhaps it is the vulnerability that helps them readily find the path.
    When a woman repells from her femininity it is a bad sign for it means the gods don’t want her to be favored. Butchs and other lesbians need to rediscover this dynamic because this is the trait that can save them.
    My advice to homosexuals woudl be the following:::
    1. Stop enagaging in promiscuity and groups sex. This hurts you very badly.
    2. Be monagamous.
    3. Stop watching pornography.
    4. Be as decent and respectable as you can wihtin the context of your sexual orientation.

    The gods punished the hedonism of the 60s and 70s by introducing AIDS:::::
    They peaked the disfavored euphporically, made them homosexual then punished them with AIDS. They don’t give a fuck. They love to be vindictive and malicious. It is important that you get out of this USA-empowered state of mind. Be afraid. You DO IN FACT live under an iron fist. The fact they set up this deceptive enviornment should strike fear in your heart for it says something about their intent.
    Be god-fearing.

    They pushed Africans into being promiscuous and now punish them with AIDS. The gods have inflicted hypersexuality on Africans, illustrated by their art. Prior to the late 20th century the gods punished them in different ways:::slavery, African drought/famine, female genital mutiliation, violence, etc.

    AIDS is far worse than the Holocaust for the perpetrators have gotten away with murder. They are multi-millionaries and live in luxury. Unlike the Nazis they neither can nor will be hunted down. And they will always have ptotection from the gods, for the gods originally authorized these clones to create/manufacture the AIDS virus (outlandish profits in this industry was “the rope”, temptation for the disfavored investor who incurred evil, limiting their time).
    Then they will be granted their time, perhaps thousands of years if not more.
    Yes the Holocaust was staged and few if any real Jews died. However they did it EXPECT the gods used clones WITHOUT brains in their cranial cavity, the ULTIMATE in disposability.
    Many disfavoreds who died of AIDS were reals. And if you don’t believe it then you don’t understand disfavor:::The Jews are an antient people used to help the disfavored and were spread throughout Europe to try to help misled Christians. Misled Christians like you.
    Those who died of AIDS may have been the member of the family whom innocculations saved. The gods disposed of them this way instead.
    Be god-fearing.

    Africans and their decendants have gross disfavor::::
    There have been 14 species of large animals capable of domestication in the history of mankind. 13 were from Europe, Asia and northern Africa but none from the sub-Saharan African continent.
    Africans suffered failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal that had the utmost importance for it’s applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

    The Counsel/Management Team/ruling species (the gods) abuse black people so hard, from east African drought/famine to AIDS in Africa to female genital mutiliation, to the crack epiemic and gang membership, black-on-black violence to mass incarceration of their young. They refuse to address the issue of the prison industrial complex and its wholesale warehousing of young black men.

    The gods use the United States to hurt the disfavored, at home and abroad, for it is the goal of redwhite&blue:::
    20th century welfare hurt the black community very, very badly. There was too many abuses of the system and its legacy is still felt today.
    There will come a time that will be a CRUCIAL moment in the history of black america (whether it is a critical time for everybody remains to be seen). When that era arrives the gods will instruct the United States to pay black people reparations, and it may be as much as a million dollars for every man, woman and child.
    Refuse it. This is an act of preditation. The gods hate Africans, evident by the sorry state of the people in the United States and back in the motherland. This may ba a choice between going and the money. Understand how the gods use greed and materialism against you:::::Blacks wallow in materialiam, incurring evil and costing themselves time. And when their time DOES come they will be granted reparations immediately prior, further limiting the number of Africans who ascend.
    The day IS coming when they will grant reparations, and the amount will be staggering, another tactic to ensure you fail in the quest to ascend into heaven. And many of the disfavored blacks will blow it all; the gods will push them into spending it friviously or losing it in their casinos.

  6. links for 2007-02-21 at Joe Eastham Tuesday, February 20, 2007

    [...] Web Worker Daily » Blog Archive 5 Ways to Get Work Under Control « A timely reality check on maintaining your sanity at work (freelancing or not.) Learning to say “no” might be the most important of the bunch and the one that I struggle with the most. (tags: work) [...]

  7. Hi Mike,
    I sure agree with your five points, especially “Pursuing Your Passions!” How easy it is to let a crowded lifestyle slowly eliminate those personal interests.

    Being a teacher and author of work and life balance myself, I emphasize how important it is to address six key aspects of life in order to live a balanced life…
    – physical wellbeing,
    – emotional wellbeing,
    – mental / attitudinal wellbeing,
    – social / intimate relationships,
    – spiritual / creativity wellbeing
    and lastly,
    – work life wellbeing.

    Unless they are all being addressed as best as possible, the balance wheel will always remain lopsided.

    You’ve addressed a few key points to help improve the quality of people’s work life, but also make your readers think about bigger life issues… right on.

    If I may I offer two other key points that can also help make an impactful difference to a person’s life, they would include;

    1. Set really clear boundaries on our time and energy, both at work and at home. Though it can sometimes be challenging to establish, it will ultimately serve our balance ability better. We may even be more respected for taking a clear stand and comitting to life principles.

    2. Always delegate when possible! Prioritize those tasks that are vital, those that are needed and those that are desired … and work first to accomplish the vitals before going on to the others. Hire out when possible!

    Thanks for your good tips. If interested, I offer free Work and Life Balance tools… come visit.

    Warmly, Carolyn Clarke

    Inner Fitness(R) Programs
    Free Balance tips – http://www.a-balanced-life.com
    Blog – http://work-and-life-balance.blogspot.com
    Main Website – http://www.innerfitness.ca

  8. Almost, Not Yet – Weekly Readings 2007-02-23 Friday, February 23, 2007

    [...] 5 Ways to Get Work Under Control [...]

  9. Interesting comments.. :D

  10. Web Worker Daily » Blog Archive Sick Days 2.0 « Tuesday, May 22, 2007

    [...] As we’ve discussed before, web workers tend to be so passionate about their work that they work to excess. But not being superhuman, we get sick, too. This can pose a problem: entrepreneurial web [...]

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