How Technology Screwed With My Work-Life Balance and Made My Daughter Cry

How Technology Screwed With My Work-Life Balance and Made My Daughter Cry

How are you managing the risks that technology has on your work-life balance?

Well I didn’t mitigate them. It broke my heart and made me feel like an idiot.

Falling Back into Old Habits

I have started to run my business full time and although I have an office in London, I also work from my office at home. Over the last two weeks, I have found myself falling back into old habits due to technology being on tap 24/7. The outcomes are obvious by the reaction and comments I get from my son at the weekend.

During the last ten years I have seen advances in technology that gives me and my family greater flexibility. I can log into work from anywhere in the world and get access to all the tools that I need using my smartphone, tablet or computer. Which are obviously all Apple as their devices are just the best.

I can hear a virtual groan across the internet from the google Android readers, but hey you like what you like.

According to a survey in a Microsoft White Paper on working from home called Work Without Walls the number one benefit from an employees view is work/home balance.

Here are the benefits for me –

  • Attend family events
  • Pick up my children from school
  • Save on commuting time and stress when I am tired
  • Work in a quiet environment to clear some stuff

But with this flexibility, comes risks. The biggest for me being my mindset, focus and mood during time with my precious family.

To show you the potential impact of these risks, I will share with you a personal story about a family evening that I would like to forget.

A Devastating Evening

When I had a blackberry, I used to respond every time the light at the top blinked red. This would be both at work, at home and sometimes on holiday – but don’t tell my wife Debby as she threatened to always throw it in the pool if she caught me.

One dark and wintery evening, I was standing in our hallway at the bottom of our stairs. My young daughter, who was about five years old at the time, was standing at the top of the stairs in her cute and snug little PJs.

The light blinked red on my blackberry and as usual, I started to read the work email. The email instantly stressed me out and put me in a bad mood. At the same time, I was reading the email, my daughter asked me a question.

I snapped immediately at her and she started to cry. It broke my heart as I saw the little tears trickle down her pretty face.

What an idiot I was. My beautiful little girl with a heart of gold did not deserve this. From that day forward, as soon as I got in from work, the blackberry was thrown in the drawer until the next morning.

Blackberry’s then faded away and were replaced by bring your own devices to work. A new risk I had to deal with. At least with a blackberry I could separate my private and work life, now it was on one device.

Using my heart-breaking memory of my daughter’s face covered in tears, I set up boundaries on when I would access work related emails and log into work.

Time For a Work-LIFE BALANCE Reset

Now I run my own business, the temptation is even higher and from my son’s reactions, I need to set up those boundaries yet again.

How does technology affect your work-life balance and how do you manage the risks?

Let me know in the comments below.




  • Vishal
    3rd January 2019 6:56 pm 1Likes

    Hi Nick

    Totally agree with you. Work has slowly creeped into our personal life outside work. With smartphone devices as you said office is always at your finger tips. My suggestion is to switch off office email program – same as throwing your blackberry in drawer. I realised that being constantly in work doesn’t help make more efficient but it counter productive. You may reply to the same email differently if you check it in the morning.
    If any thing is burning at work which can not wait till morning, people will call you..
    So be reactive than proactive in this case 🙂

    • Nicholas Foster
      28th January 2019 12:04 pm 0Likes

      Thanks Vishal, I know colleagues now who delete their work email app from their phone otherwise they check it. If if is urgent then someone will call and they can log into work on their computer.

Comments are closed.