Thursday, November 22, 2007

World Usability Day: Top tips for achieving Work-life Balance

Putting usability to use in everyday life ...

"The UK is widely reported in the media as a place of long working hours and stress. Indeed, the Health and Safety Executive reported that a total of 12.8 million working days were lost due to stress, depression and anxiety in 2004/5. Many people believe the problem lies in being unable to achieve a work-life balance. Many people also believe that technology is one of the key drivers of stress.

As a contribution to World Usability Day, I’d like to offer some top tips on achieving work-life balance and suggest some ways in which technology – properly used – can actually contribute to a positive outcome.

Tip 1. Don’t try to balance work and life - work is part of life.
Frankly, most of us spend far too much time at work to think of that time as being somehow ‘not life’. As work has evolved and technology appeared, it is easy to see how it became more difficult to gain satisfaction in early industrialised processes. In the last few years, we have seen a greater recognition that people should enjoy life when in the office, with brighter, more flexible and attractive spaces – and long may this continue.

Tip 2. Use technology to take control - choose where and when you ‘work’
Current technology allows us to keep in touch through voice, text and email, and many people find this a significant source of pressure and end up working excessively long hours as a result. Consider the thought “they can reach me on my boat” (or golf course etc). If your emails are constantly ‘pushed’ (the so-called ‘crackberry’ approach) then they can indeed put pressure on you. But if you adopt the ‘chooseberry’ model, then you can choose to access emails or work only when you want.

Tip 3. Live with never-ending ‘to do’ lists…
If your use your email in-box as your ‘to do’ list then just when you thought you’d got to the end, you will get a string of new emails/tasks. Google allows me to find information in a way that is liberating. However, when I typed in “work life balance” it came back with 1.84m hits. Now, even at a conservative one second per link, I reckon it would still take 64 days at 8 hours a day to read them all. The answer is to accept that in today’s information-rich environment, we will never finish – but we can, and must, stop when we have done ‘enough’."    (Continued via Usability News)    [Usability Resources]

Balance in Life - Usability, User Interface Design

Balance in Life

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