Healthy Work/Life Balance

How to keep your work and life separate over the holidays.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #61

Today's topic is having a holiday that’s really … a holiday. The quick and dirty tip is to put barriers between you and everyone who might want your time.

It’s that special time again, when we’re getting to that family-oriented time of year, when we all have lots of quality time together. Although, depending on your family, to make it quality, that time might be spent on separate continents.

No matter what, you want good life balance over the holidays, otherwise your brain will explode from the stress of it all. Some people spend their playtime obsessing about how they should be working, then they spend their work time fantasizing that they’d rather be playing. This is not a recipe for happiness. Don’t do it. When you’re working, work. When you’re playing, play.

Pulling this off takes a gatekeeper. See, these days, all our little connected mobile devices were supposed to give us work/life balance. They do, but only if we use them the right way. If we let them become little interruption factories, they make life a Living Heck. When you’re at work, you want to keep your home life at bay. When you’re at home, you want to keep your work life at bay. Here’s how.

Build Email Barriers With Autoresponders

Pretty much every email service on the planet now offers vacation autoresponders. These let you automatically respond with a message saying, “I’m not taking email at the moment. Try me later.” On holiday, set your autoresponder to say, “I’m away right now and won’t respond to your email. Resend it when I return.”

But what if you’re expecting something truly important that you’re willing to be interrupted for? For that, there’s a nifty little service called AwayFind.com. In your autoresponder, you say, “I’m away. If you still need to reach me, go to AwayFind.com/stever and you can use the form on that page to reach me.” They can visit that page and from there, and Awayfind can forward that email to your mobile phone or to another email account. By making it just a little harder to reach you, 99% of the people emailing will immediately self-select out.

Build Phone Barriers With Voicemail

Another big source of interruptions is phone calls.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.