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8 January 2024 - 6 minutes

Balancing Work and Life in Tech: Strategies for Well-being and Productivity

Yes, you can be both productive and happy in your role: here’s how.

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You’ve heard about that elusive work/life balance, this magical concept for people who actually have enough time between their jobs and personal lives to relax, do things they enjoy, and take time for themselves. And while this may seem like something that’s entirely out of reach, we have a little secret: in tech, it’s completely possible–and likely. 

Of course, your work/life balance will depend on your specific job and responsibilities outside of the office, but one of the reasons the tech industry is so popular is that it offers this incredible benefit for employees without compromising on salaries, room for growth, or professional opportunities. 

Before we dive into strategies for well-being and productivity in tech, permitting you to be the best version of yourself both inside and outside of the workplace, let’s review the importance of work/life balances and why the tech industry is uniquely suited to offer you a healthy equilibrium

What is Work/Life Balance?

The term is thrown around a lot and maybe you don’t believe it can truly exist: after all, is anyone truly happy in their role?! And able to maintain healthy boundaries between their job and personal lives, being active and productive members of both? The answer is yes–but it does come after significant effort and determination. 

The exact definition of a work/life balance will depend heavily on your specific case; what a healthy balance to you is may differ significantly from your colleague or even family member, but could look like one of these situations: 

  • You’re able to focus on work during your working hours instead of worrying about personal problems. 

  • You’re able to leave your work responsibilities at the office and can focus on your personal life during weekends/weeknights. 

  • You have flexibility when it comes to unforeseen events that cause you to miss some working hours.

  • You’re not only able to disconnect from your work at the end of the working day, but also aren’t filled with stress and anxiety about work.

  • You're encouraged to take vacations/sick days and your personal time is respected.

  • You’re able to have a full and enriching life outside of work; you have time for family, friends, and hobbies. 

As you can see, there are various elements that make up a healthy work/life balance and what’s ideal for you may look different than what a colleague or family member prefers, but it’s up to you to find what works for you. But make sure you take it seriously: unhealthy work/life balances can lead to: 

  • Higher levels of stress, which can lead to grave illnesses and health problems later on

  • A lower level of life satisfaction, in addition to a higher risk of depression and anxiety

  • Higher risk of substance abuse 

  • Lower levels of productivity both at work and at home 

  • Reduced levels of employee loyalty and retention rates

  • Lower job satisfaction

Now that you know why achieving a healthy work/life balance is so important to both your personal and professional lives, let’s get to the good stuff: how you can ensure your work/life balance is fair. To explain this properly, let’s divy it up into two sections: strategies for your well-being and ways to be more productive (while respecting your work/life balance, of course!).

Strategies for Improving Your Well-Being in Tech

Lots of people conflate well-paying jobs with long hours, ruthless bosses, and the need to be on-call constantly; if you’re in tech, however, or looking to be, remember one thing: the two are not mutually exclusive and you can find jobs that respect your time outside of the office and encourage your personal development, instead of sucking all the life out of you. 

It’s especially important for tech workers to pay attention to their well-being for the following reasons: 

  • If you work remotely, like many tech workers do, it can be tough to draw lines between your work and personal life and continue working once your work day is over.

  • Since you’re spending time on the computer at work, you could be tempted to stay logged-in longer to solve one last problem or answer messages from co-workers, even if you’re supposed to be off the clock.

  • Some tech environments are incredibly competitive and you might feel like you need to put in extra hours or be always available to show your boss you’re up for the challenge. 

  • Tech moves incredibly fast and this speed may lead you to feel like you’re behind and need to constantly be on the clock to catch up or get ahead. 

With these factors in mind, it’s never been more crucial to pay attention to some of the best strategies for well-being in tech. Here are a few of our favorites: 

  • Treat your out-of-office time with the same respect as you treat your work hours: if you wouldn’t take a personal call or run an errand during work hours, why should you be expected to work when you’re off the clock? Make sure you have clear boundaries between your personal and work lives, leaving time for both. 

  • Set clear guidelines for responses: trying to be flexible and telling colleagues they can reach out at any point might seem like a good way to gain points with your team, but it can quickly turn into an excessive amount of messages when you’re outside the office and an unhealthy feeling like you have to respond right away. 

  • Take time off: whether it’s a vacation day, parental leave, a sick day, or simply a lunch break, make sure you take time off to reset and recharge, getting to do the things you like and spend time with family and friends. 

  • Pursue hobbies: if you have a tough time filling the time outside of work with things to do and are simply turning towards your laptop to get in a bit more work before bed or on the weekends, you might want to consider taking on a new hobby to help fill your time with things that aren’t related to work. 

Strategies for Improving Your Productivity in Tech

In a fast-moving industry like tech, it can seem nearly impossible to keep up and you might feel like you’re constantly falling behind, unable to keep up with the latest demands. And no matter how fast you work, there’s something else to debug, a new security threat to fix, and a new design request from the product team–not to mention the work you need to do to keep up with newly released software updates.

Yes, tech is moving fast–no one can deny that. And even if you’re moving fast through your growing list of tasks, achieving productivity in tech can feel nearly impossible because: 

  • You’re tasked with too many small projects, requiring you to spread yourself thin across many areas instead of focusing on one thing at a time. 

  • You need to fix one problem before moving on to another project, but you’ve been working on it for a while and your list of other tasks is growing. 

  • You’re working so much but still can’t cross off everything on your to-do list. 

Achieving productivity is not a fever dream–we promise. Take a look at some of our tips and tricks to being productive in the tech workforce (without selling your soul!):

  • Take advantage of automation tools: lots of tech tasks are repetitive but thanks to automation, we’re now able to use automation tools to quickly and successfully cross these items off our list. They aren’t an option for absolutely every task you have, but they can help lessen your workload significantly. 

  • Focus on one task at a time: this is easier said than done, especially if you’re facing lots of different tasks from different areas. However, the human mind is more productive when thinking about one thing instead of a few, so try to place your focus on just the task at hand and only move on once that task is completed. 

  • Rely on your team: the vast majority of tech roles work on a team and this should be used to your advantage: delegate tasks to team members when possible and use their expertise to help you move through your projects faster. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when necessary and make sure you’re available to help your colleagues as well. 

  • Find out what motivates you: some people need absolute silence to work and others are motivated by music, podcasts, or a lively environment. Finding what best suits you and avoiding distractions can help you significantly increase your productivity at work. 

Even though it may seem nearly impossible to achieve, we promise that the well-being and productivity that tech workers have is one of the biggest reasons why so many people are moving towards the sector; in addition to high salaries, remote-friendly policies, and lots of room for growth, nothing can replace feeling content in your role. 

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in tech and making sure that you find a role where you are both productive and content, you’re in the right place. Ironhack can help you gain the foundational knowledge needed to land that first role in tech, ensuring you’ll be the next techie to benefit from this incredible industry. 

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