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Work and wellness: let's get real

Edited
Meg Bailey Atlassian Team Jun 10, 2022

ICYMI, the Confluence team just launched a new Work and wellness series! 🎉

I (somewhat selfishly) had the idea to kick things off with a discussion post. Whether it was a wakeup call that I needed to set better boundaries or the realization that I wasn’t alone in experiencing burnout, I’ve found much of the progress I’ve made in my own journey toward better work-life integration has started with candid conversations!

So, let’s get real! I want to hear from you — what’s something you struggle with in balancing work and life? Do you have a tip, trick, or strategy that’s helped (Confluence-related or otherwise)?

11 comments

I’ll go first 🙋‍♀️

Pre-March 2020 I was not exactly killing the “setting (and enforcing) boundaries on my time” game. I felt like I needed to be available to my coworkers anytime someone reached out — which meant fielding Slack messages, emails, or phone calls when they came in — including weekends and after hours. 🤪 I was majorly stressed out and fast-approaching burnout — and then seemingly overnight my home became my office. Reader, it did not bode well for my work or wellness.

Whereas in “before times” I had the physical transition of my daily commute to set some natural boundaries between my work and my life outside work, suddenly I was spending 24 hours a day in my workspace — and it felt nearly impossible to delineate the two. I was consistently working long hours and even when I wasn’t “working”, I felt like I should be. I’d sit on the couch for hours at night with my laptop open, half-working and half watching TV or wine-and-puzzling, and it 100% sucked. I wasn’t letting myself ever fully unplug from work. Predictably, it led to major burnout.

I’m happy to report that 2+ years later, I have found a much better balance between work and life — and I’m happier and healthier in and out of my job! Part of this can be chalked up to the learning curve of remote/hybrid work, part to my own (ongoing) work to strike a better balance, and a large part to joining a team & company with a culture that emphasizes the holistic health and wellbeing of employees. I still have plenty of room for growth, but being a part of a team that effectively collaborates async and normalizes flexibility for employees has made a world of difference.

Some other things that have helped me?

  • Deleting work email + the Slack app from my phone
  • Creating a “starting work” and “ending work” routine when wfh to replace the transition of commuting
  • Making a coverage plan in Confluence when going OOO (proud to say I took my first fully unplugged vacation earlier this year thanks to this!)
Like # people like this
Srinatha T Atlassian Team Jun 12, 2022

@Meg Bailey  Thanks for sharing.

Removing the work email and slack app from phone has actually helped me too. 

Like # people like this
Meg Bailey Atlassian Team Jun 13, 2022

Yes, so much less tempting to "just reply to one thing" when you have to log on to your work computer! 

Like Dave Liao likes this
Srinatha T Atlassian Team Jun 12, 2022

Things that have helped me are

1. I keep 500ML water bottle with me. Since the bottle gets over soon, I get up from my seat go and grab another 500ML . I feel these small breaks are really necessary for good health and reminds me that i stay with family members. :) 

2. When i am stressed out or things are difficult at work. I simply get up from my chair, go to my toddler and cuddle him , play with him. The cute smile on his face make me forget everything in the world. 

Like # people like this
Meg Bailey Atlassian Team Jun 13, 2022

The water bottle is a great idea, I'll have to try that! Win-win with drinking more water AND taking more breaks. And nothing better than a cute toddler to remind you what really matters! 💙

Like # people like this
G subramanyam Community Leader Jun 14, 2022

Hi @Meg Bailey you started out with a bang and this entire concept is a killer. I'm loving it.

You: What’s something you struggle with in balancing work and life?

Me: I struggle to maintain my fitness streak in the busy work/life.

 

You: Do you have a tip, trick, or strategy that’s helped (Confluence-related or otherwise)?

Me: Well in fact 2 approaches I follow:

a) I create weekly task(s) in my personal Jira board and document the steps I should follow in that week in personal Confluence site. So, every day I start with looking my task and steps and specific time for my jogging.

b) I divide my 24 hours into 3 parts: 10 hours work+7 hours sleep+7 hours with family.

Like # people like this
Meg Bailey Atlassian Team Jun 14, 2022

Thanks for sharing, @G subramanyam! Love this use case for Jira + Confluence! I need to try it out but already see a couple major benefits: 

  • Creating Jira tasks for things you want to make time for (like going for a run!) helps prioritize those items. Especially when things are busy, it can be easy to neglect the things we do for ourselves in favor of the things we do for other people (work-related or otherwise), so I love that this strategy helps mitigate that! 
  • Great approach to break the larger task (in Jira) down into smaller steps (in Confluence). In my experience, breaking tasks down into bite-sized steps makes me so much more likely to follow through because it feels more tangible and less daunting! 
Like # people like this
Kevin Tuei Community Leader Jun 19, 2022

Great concept here @Meg Bailey , I couldn't help but jump right into the ship. Learning a lot from you and others on work and wellness.

 

Work-life balance struggle is real. Sometimes you feel you have everything under control but there is always a way in which the work "wolf" gets all wild on you. Here are some of the things that get wild on me and my successful approaches to tame them. 

 

It's usually difficult to plan for  impromptu work tasks/meetings coming in while I still have other items on my plate so I usually ensure I prioritize tasks and help colleagues meet-less by collaborating on Confluence in what I like calling asynchronous "meeting" while working. This helps me have time for the current tasks without having to send apologies for full-time meeting.

 

Also for the tasks I usually have, they can be daunting and the feeling of jumping from one unfinished task to another without ever completing them is a wild that gets real. Thanks to Trello, I am able to set up daily tasks on cards which I place on the standard lists To Do, Doing and Done, I usually call this board the To Finish List. Just to ensure that I know the end goal is to complete tasks. 

 

I also ensure I treat personal life activities as seriously as I would do the work tasks. From fitness to time with family, I also create a routine and share with self a blog of my Personal Journal Confluence Space. 

Like # people like this
Meg Bailey Atlassian Team Jun 21, 2022

This sounds like a great system! Especially love the idea of using Trello to track daily tasks. I've used Trello to organize my work to-do lists before but think my mistake was making each task/card way too high-level – so it was easy to get trapped in that feeling of never "truly" completing things. I'm going to follow your lead and try again but with tasks that are much more bite-sized (rather than a whole quarter-long project) so I can get the satisfaction of moving tasks to the "Done" list. (Pro-tip in case you don't already know: add one of these 🎉 🎊 🎇 🎆 ✨ 👖 emojis to the title of your Trello list and when you move cards to that list it'll do a little celebration - SO satisfying!)

Like Dave Liao likes this
Dave Liao Community Leader Jun 22, 2022

🗓 Scheduling meal and coffee breaks. It's crazy to say that that's necessary, but a classic adage is

what doesn't get scheduled doesn't get done

Aside from the above, I rely on page templates to help drive meetings - or solo discovery or documentation activities. Frameworks help keep you on-track!

Like # people like this

I hate that it's necessary but 100% agree that scheduling meal breaks is great for creating some more balance + setting boundaries on your time. I need to get back into practice with this – and love the idea of scheduling coffee breaks too – maybe then I wouldn't end up reheating my coffee multiple times a day 😅. 

And yes – templates are such a game-changer for meetings! Not only keeps things on track with an agenda but can also replace some meetings with async collab (I feel so strongly about this that I made a flowchart👇). 

could that meeting have been a confluence page_.png

Sharon Tan Community Manager Jun 27, 2022

Love this discussion @Meg Bailey !! While I do have Slack and Gmail on my phone, I turn off notifications for Gmail so that it only refreshes manually when I open the app.

Aside from that, I also like @Dave Liao schedule time for walks, lunch, and breaks! Also loving the out of office plan too to keep everyone informed. Looking forward to this series!!

Like Meg Bailey likes this

Switching my home office from a laptop to a desktop that I can walk away from and not take with me.  This simple thing has allowed me to shutdown.

Like # people like this
Meg Bailey Atlassian Team Jun 30, 2022

That's a great idea! So simple yet such an effective way to avoid "work time" bleeding into "life time". 

Andy Gladstone Community Leader Jun 27, 2022

My current struggles are less tactical or strategic and have become more existential. I struggle with an imbalance of fulfillment vs. effort/time. I spend much less time with my family or on personal pursuits than I do at the office/work, yet the level of fulfillment I feel from the time spent at work is drastically less than what I feel with family.

This reality leads to shorter time to burnout in the office, requiring more resets and generally plowing through to ends/goals rather than enjoying the journeys.

I don’t have answers for how to restore that sense of fulfillment, but appreciate everyone here listening and reading so I can at least express what I am feeling. 

Like Brittany Wispell likes this

I have been struggling with feeling like I completed something at the end of the day. It could just be the work that I do, where each day you're not exactly going to "complete" something. That's just the nature of support but it's been really difficult pulling myself away knowing it'll just be there tomorrow along with who knows what else. 

I decided to not install Slack or any other work communication on my cell phone which has seemed to help a bit, but I still find myself walking to my computer and double checking no one needed me after hours for something. 

I have not tested anything like tips, tricks etc., yet. I was thinking of volunteering somewhere or having something scheduled 30mins after the end of my work day to make myself pull away. We shall see how that goes through out this year! :) 

Like Andy Gladstone likes this

I am one of the lucky ones who does not struggle with work/life balance issues very often. I work for a great company that has defined norms and one of them is work/life balance. I find that a lot of work/life balance is about the company you work for. We are offered flexible time off (FTO) where we have unlimited PTO. We also have what is called Enrichment Time where we can spend up to 40 hour a year on ourselves; either taking training, going to conferences, attending webinars, volunteering, etc.

Me personally, one thing I do to maintain a good work/life balance is I do not install any work apps on my phone. When I leave my desk in my home office I am done for the day! Period! Well, unless there is an emergency, but that has never happened and hopefully never will! 

I hope the rest of you find some ways to instill a good work/life balance into your life! 

Mayur Jadhav Community Leader Jul 05, 2022

I am staying at 3 story apartment, usually, I follow a very simple method after every hour or 2 hours, I am going down and come up using stairs. That maintains me healthy and I also get a short break from work.

Like Srinatha T likes this

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