Use Tech to Beat the Clock

8 ways to create work-life balance with gadgets, applications and online tools

Life Work Synergy's Lisa Whaley uses a variety of tools to manage her life as entrepreneur, wife and mother.

Lisa J. Whaley knows a thing or two about balancing life, work, and family. She has a husband, two college-aged daughters (one of whom lives at home), a teenage son and a 19-month-old granddaughter. She’s also the president of Life Work Synergy L.L.C., a Woodbridge, Va.-based coaching firm, a technology consultant, and an avid exerciser who squeezes her workouts in before her workday starts, and her last client call of the day.

So how does Whaley manage all of these responsibilities and still find time to read a book, enjoy a cup of tea, or spend time chatting with her girlfriends? “Technology has allowed me to create a good work-life equation,” says Whaley. “I’m able to intermingle work and life activities (such as running her business on her BlackBerry while shuttling her son back and forth to school) pretty effectively thanks to technology.”

Here are eight ways that you can create balance in your life with the help of technology:

Handle small stuff on the fly: Whaley’s workday is consumed with phone calls, email communications and face-to-face meetings with clients. The rest of her day is made up of doctor’s appointments, school meetings and time spent watching her granddaughter. She handles small tasks on the fly– instead of letting them pile up for the next day – with her Blackberry. “I can check my email from anywhere and address client needs and other pressing issues quickly,” says Whaley.

Write it Down … Digitally: Up until a couple of years ago, Whaley lugged around a 6” X 9” Daytimer, which housed her calendar, lists, and notes. Today, all of those important documents are stored on her BlackBerry, and synced regularly with her office computer. With this tool, Whaley can manage every corner of her life (business, family and play), including the household groceries. “This is so much better than using the old paper lists on the refrigerator,” she says, “which you can easily forget when you’re walking out the door.”

Invest in a wireless card, if you need one: Depending on your occupation and the time you spend away from the office, a wi-fi card for your laptop could pay off handsomely. “If you find yourself driving around town a lot, looking for a Starbucks network to connect to,” says Whaley, “then the $60-or-so a month spent on a wi-fi card could be a big time-saver for you.”

Use online photo-sharing: Relatives who live more than a few miles away want to see pictures of you, your children, your pets and pretty much anything else that keeps them “close.” Keeping up with these requests used to be impossible for Niloufar Molavi, chief diversity officer at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, who discovered Kodak’s Ofoto as a good way to easily upload photos and “share them with family around the world,” says Molavi. “They can’t be here all the time, but they still get to watch my kids grow up. It’s an invaluable tool.”

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