My mobile phone is my alarm clock; it’s the first thing I look at each morning. When I pick it up I only mean to silence it, but I’ll inevitably see a notification – a text message, email or missed call, and my mind is instantly thrown into the day ahead. I read work emails and reply if I can, and if I can’t I make a note to myself to revisit it once my workday begins. Sometimes, I do all of this before my feet even touch my bedroom floor. I see this as an advantage because I like walking into the office with a clear understanding of my priorities and goals for the day ahead.
This ease of access to business-related resources makes it possible for some of my colleagues to work from home. It makes collaboration possible while on different train lines, or in some cases, state lines. Often, there are tasks that can be completed before I even walk into the office, and it feels great to get an early start on my to-do list. This access can, however, blur the boundaries between our work and personal lives.
I have dreamed about a “digital detox” – a week or two where I turn off my phone, stuff it in a dresser drawer, and travel to Vermont to rediscover nature. That’s something I’d like to do soon, for vacation, but in the meantime, I’ve got to keep working. I’ve got to be responsive to emails and work with my team members to push the business forward. Technology is designed to provide solutions to problems, so how can I use the technology around me to keep me productive and sane?
One solution is to use the technology at my disposal wisely, define healthy boundaries, and utilize the technology to support balance. Microsoft MyAnalytics is a tool included with the Office 365 suite of applications and I’ve recently started to review the weekly reports it provides to get a better sense of when and how I allow crossover into my home life. The reports track how much time I spend in meetings and reading emails, collaborating with team members, and performing other activities related to Office 365. It even tells me how many “quiet days,” I have where I’m able to unplug after work hours. Bloomberg News described the value of the reports well: “Think of it as a fitness tracker but for your sanity.”
Microsoft is helping Office 365 users achieve a healthy work/life balance with MyAnalytics. Keeping an eye on just how much work you’re performing can help you be more productive, enforce healthy boundaries, and be more satisfied with your job. The tool is a powerful statement that work/life balance needs to be a priority, and that balance begins with a clear understanding of your own habits.
With the correct technology at our disposal, we can use it to improve our work/life balance. A team member here at Valiant recently said that MyAnalytics helps him realize how much we accomplish, and it makes it easier for him to “disconnect” when the workday is over. We all have to figure out the balance for ourselves, and when used correctly the technology we use in the 9-5 can help us focus on ourselves from 5-9. For my part, I might go back to using an analog alarm clock to wake up in the morning.
Are you an Office 365 user who finds MyAnalytics to be helpful? If so, let us know in the comments!