Authors & Work Life Balance
Go back not so many years and there seemed to be a greater work life balance. An author was just that-an author…. who wrote, and at the most maybe edited their own work. How different things are today! In this modern digital age authors are writers, editors, advertisers, publicists and promotors. They are constantly at the beck and call of digital overspill-answering countless emails, taking phone calls; skype calls; zoom calls, not to mention researching, tracking, and creating websites. Add to that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, and time that should be spend winding down, resting, or spending quality time with others fades rapidly into the misty memories of time.
This is propounded by the fact that they often work in the same place as they live, where instant connection and lack of limitations increases the risk of burn-out.
Work-life balance is such a problem amongst developed countries that many have introduced legislation to ensure that employees have the right to disconnect. In fact, research suggests that the failure to do so negatively impacts not only on well-being but also on productivity. Not so easy though for authors, who are not only often their own boss, but are striving to maintain a balancing act between digital savvy and creativity.
This is not to say that authors do not appreciate the benefits of this digital generation. The business of writing can be faster and easier with touch type and dictation, not to mention the many apps and digital services which aid self-publication.
Switching Off In A Digital Age!
But how can authors, who’s digital ‘baby bird’ screeches endlessly at them from mobile, laptop and P.C with nonstop notifications, demanding to be constantly fed, have a hope in hell of switching off for some down-time, or at least creating some semblance of balance in their life?
Firstly, DO NOT chuck your digital devices out of the window! (although you may feel like it at times). There is a place for digital tools in your workspace. Invest wisely in the tools that will save you time in the long term. Get through that painful barrier of learning new digital skills, and you will thank yourself later and save yourself a whole load of stress.
However, DO do the following;
Define your work hours; my partners sets multiple alarms as reminders, for instance.
Define your communication hours; the emails will still be there in the morning.
Enforce digital downtime, disconnecting from devices; and stick to it!
Avoid letting your ‘work thoughts’ bleed into your free time; visualise a box, put them in, seal the box and toss it out of the window-and purposefully think of something else.
Finally, although the role of an author is constantly changing in this digital era, remember amongst all the other tasks, that the thing you do best-writing-is the most important thing. So hold onto your creative spirit, and the passion with which you started writing in the first place-After all, that is still, and always will be, the essence of an author.