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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)?
@Meg Bailey Thanks for sharing.
Removing the work email and slack app from phone has actually helped me too.
Yes, so much less tempting to "just reply to one thing" when you have to log on to your work computer!
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.
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! 💙
I try to get a coffee or a single glass of water regulary. Having a whole bottle give me too much time before I get thirsty :-)
Oooo good tip @Charlie Misonne! I keep telling myself I need to buy a bigger water bottle to drink from throughout the day but now I have a new perspective... I'm just incentivizing myself to stand up and leave my desk more frequently for refills!
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.
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:
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.
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!)
🗓 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!
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👇).
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!!
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.
That's a great idea! So simple yet such an effective way to avoid "work time" bleeding into "life time".
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.
I think what you're experiencing is something a lot of (if not most/all) people can relate to! It's probably unlikely many of us will achieve long-term equity between the time spent/fulfillment derived ratios of work and life but the optimist in me likes to think that we can work toward less time spent + more fulfillment at work. I'm biased of course but am a huge advocate of (*cough* Atlassian *cough*) tools and processes to enable the former. As far as the latter I've noticed that I feel much more fulfilled by my work when I'm able to focus on impact, particularly impact on other people, whether that be coworkers, Atlassian Community members, customers, etc. I know I speak for Atlassians & Community members alike when I say that the time and resources you share with us here Andy makes such a positive impact!
Last thing I'll leave you with for now is this article/podcast ep I enjoyed recently - "Why Teams Are Key to Beating Burnout" – let me know your thoughts if you check it out!
@Meg Bailey thank you so much for sharing. I put my feet up and ate lunch while listening to the podcast episode and I identified with so much of the content that I went to Amazon and purchased the last paperback version of the book in stock (at 41% off!). I look forward to reading more about her strategy for dealing with and addressing burnout.
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! :)
Great idea to schedule something at the end of the day, love that! This is more general but I find it a lot easier to stick to a schedule (like signing off of work at x time) when I've made a commitment that I would need to back out of – even if it's just going for a walk with a friend or family member at a certain time!
As far as feeling like it's tough to see what you've actually accomplished in a day, been there – it can be sooo demotivating! I actually learned this strategy as a way of managing ADHD symptoms, but think it's relevant to this application as well. 🙂 When you're planning your work day (whether it's a to-do list or a more advanced work management method), break each task/item down to the most granular, detailed units possible. For example, a task such as "Engage with Community content" might become:
I use this trick when I need motivation to initiate a task, but think this method of breaking tasks down from the broad, general, and sometimes ambiguous to much more tangible, action-oriented steps could also be helpful in getting a reality check on just how much you're accomplishing in a day – even if the higher level tasks remain incomplete! 🔐Added bonus: you get a dopamine hit from checking off items on a to-do list, no matter how small.
Let me know how this goes if you try it out!
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!
So agreed that working somewhere (both at an organizational level + at the team-level) with a culture that prioritizes healthy work-life integration and setting boundaries makes such a difference! It seems like a combination of systemic/organizational policies (e.g. unlimited PTO) and a culture that normalizes and promotes healthy practices and behaviors (e.g. actually taking PTO, and fully unplugging when you do) is key.
And right there with ya on the no-work-apps-on-the-phone train 📵
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.
That's a great, simple method for getting out of your desk and taking short breaks throughout the day! Do you set a timer to remind yourself or just go every hour or 2 when you think of it?
Hi everyone, great topic :). You know what...what stresses me the most is overthinking the Work and life balance topic. In last two years I tried to work 32hours/week. It was great because
Now I'm working for 36hours and it is not so ideal. The mostly because the expecation of my performance is just too big (it is probably too close to 40hours/week that it is harder to distinguish the lower working hours.
Thanks for sharing your experience, you raise some really good points! I hadn't thought about the adjusted performance expectations aspect of a shorter workweek before. I wonder if knowing coworkers are available less (e.g. 32 or even 36 hours versus 40) prompts people to better prioritize the items they expect/ask you to contribute to – maybe it even pares down unnecessary or low-impact items that wouldn't get deprioritized otherwise?
If you're interested, the Atlassian Brand Content team experimented with a 4-day workweek last year and published an article about their experience here!
I came across this page late , neverthless I can relate to everyone and especially @Meg Bailey about the shift to WFH during the pandemic... I in fact have gained more than 15 kgs sitting at home and following erratic work timing ... now I have made it a point to stick to my pre-Covid habits of going to office, taking the stairs etc to get back to where I was in 2020 ... For me sticking to habits and routines helps you to maintain a healthy balance between work and life outside the office.
Yes, glad you can relate! I agree that the working erratic hours negatively impacts me in soo many different ways. On the flip side, structure makes a huge difference as far as creating routines that are more conducive to healthy boundaries between work and life!
Regarding personal choices: Drinking plenty of water greatly impacted my well-being. Now I also carry around my 500ml bottle of water. Fasting is a discussable topic, I know, but for me is doing wonders. It helps to keep my focus and reduce general inflammation.
On work setup, I reconfigured my notifications settings to keep an eye on essential topics.
That's awesome that you've figured out what works for you health-wise! And always amazing how improving aspects of your physical health (like reducing inflammation) positively impacts other things like your ability to focus.
And great idea re: prioritizing notifications! My brain's default is to react to every notification with equal weight/urgency, and my current solution is simply silencing notifications when I need deep focus time...will be following your lead here so I can stay informed on the stuff that matters without being distracted by minutiae!
If you find any super effective way of dealing with notifications I am all ears xD
While taking breaks and drinking enough water seems to me being an important advise, that alone does not do much for me.
I found that a bunch of ideas, incoming help-requests and escalations need to be prioritized, put on hold or just delegated to a specialists - what really helped me is the article in Atlassian blog:
It just makes no sense to try to cater all needs, the resources of everyone of us are limited. Incoming works needs to be distributed, categorized and prioritzed properly.
Totally agreed, thanks for sharing this article @Daniel Ebers! This is something I'm always working on. 😅
I can 100% relate to @Meg Bailey that 'Deleting work email + the Slack app from my phone' has helped so much with my work life balance. I've had them on my phone for a year and checked my emails daily after work and even on weekends. I finally removed them two weeks ago before my vacation and it has really helped me unplug from work in my free time. I still sometimes feel the urge to check my emails and reinstall the apps but then I remind myself of how much this has helped me.
'Creating a “starting work” and “ending work” routine when wfh to replace the transition of commuting' I actually haven't tried this but I think it's a brilliant idea. When I used be in school during look down I always started my day with writing a to-do list of all the things I wanted to do that day and at the end of the day I could tik off all the things I completed that day. This also helped me with what @Brittany Wispell said. I always felt accomplished to have done something at the end of the day.
I used to do it at work too but kinda lost the routine. This reminded me to start introducing more healthy habits again.
Agreed, a daily to-do list is a great ritual for starting and ending your workday! It's one of those habits that seems fairly simple but I notice such a big impact when I'm doing it versus not.