Work/life balance

Set your alarm clock to go to sleep…

As a child I learned that an alarm clock was used to wake you up. But it took me a lot longer to realise that an alarm clock was a tool to send you to sleep and sleep more.

By sleeping more, I don’t mean hammering the snooze button every nine minutes to have half an hour longer in bed. With a blurring of home and office (and working from home for the last year and a half), I have found that my “down time” from work has become less, particularly where I have taken time out to pick up children from kindergarten, do some shopping, cook etc. And so this was where the alarm clock came in.

I set alarms for 21:30 and 22:00, which were the soft and hard cut-off points, past which I could not work. And then thirty minutes later (ie 22:30) to indicate time to sleep. Between the soft/hard alarms I would only finish a task I was working on, but not start new tasks.

In addition, I have also set social media apps to be blocked past 22:30, and my phones to go into do not disturb mode. All of these steps have helped me to sleep better, making the being woken up at 05:00 – 06:00 by the twins a little more manageable, even if their alarm to do so is daily, rather than just limited to the working week.


Copying the in-office setup at home

When I turned off the light in my office on the evening of 13 March 2020, I hadn’t anticipated that three months later I would be still working from home. Fortunately, we had always kept a home office “just in case” although it was planning to be repurposed to become a room for our twins. Then COVID-19 became an issue in Austria.