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The 36-Hour Day

with Lylah M. Alphonse

I'm a full-time editor, a part-time writer, and a mom and stepmom to five amazing kids, ages 1 to 14. For me it's not about finding balance, it's about the daily juggle-- my career, my commute, freelance work, homework, housework, married life, social life, and parenting-- and finding the time to get it all done.

To learn more about Lylah, check out her Work It, Mom! profile and read her blog at

Does techonology help or hinder work-life balance?

Categories: Hacking Life, The Juggle, Working? Living?


I got a BlackBerry for Christmas.

Now, my husband’s had a BlackBerry for quite some time, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I hated the thing. The fact that it was with him at all times. They way it sat on his night table, red light blinking balefully, signaling an ever-expanding workload. The way he sometimes worked at the kitchen table, editing video with his headphones on, Blackberry at the ready, so he could check his email without having to interrupt the project on his laptop.

I fantasized about chucking it out the window while he slept. I glared at it when he consulted it in the car. And I swore that I had absolutely, positively no need for that much connectivity.

And then he gave me one.

Now, I completely understand why they’re called “CrackBerrys.” And I still swear that I have absolutely, positively no need for that much connectivity. But being able to check my email while waiting in the parking lot? It’s … very convenient. And being able to text using a teensie tiny QWERTY keyboard? Much nicer than the beep-boop tapping on that flat Razr keypad. And being able to send a Tweet or update my Facebook status? Totally unnecessary — but very, very nice.

I still have a week or so to decide whether I’m keeping the sleek, cherry-cola-colored thing. I deliberatly haven’t downloaded apps or synched it to my Google Calendar, but I do find myself checking it often, and I have to admit, that little blinking red LED sure does catch my eye.

So, do I like it? I hate to admit it, but… yes. Do I need it? Absolutely, positively not.

But I think I’m keeping it anyway.

Do you have too much techonology at your fingertips? Does being connected 24/7 help or hinder your work-life juggle?

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9 comments so far...

  • Absolutley helps! Coincidentally my favorite gadget is the Blackberry….which I fought getting and now couldn’t live without. I do not surf the net or update facebook or use for much other than reading email. I use it primarily for work and love that I can take the day off or cut out early on nice days to take my daughter to the park and still keep in touch with the office as needed. I also love that I can read emails and plan my day while sitting at traffic lights on the way to work.

    Generally I only read emails and respond with a phone call if necessary - way too hard to type a meaningful response on a Blackberry. After business hours it’s treated just like my office phone….not answered and emails not responded to until morning (or at least until baby has gone to bed and I’ve gotten whatever we need ready for the next day).

    Carrie  |  January 15th, 2009 at 12:45 am

  • Oh I definitely think it’s both. The Internet has provided us with a wonderful way of communicating. We can even communicate with others around the world. It’s a wonderful invention! But it’s very addicting. I literally have to turn off the laptop to stay off of it. You can go from one link to the next and really be on it all day long if you’re not careful. Addicting, yes. Helpful, yes. Meaningful, yes. So what are we to do?! :)

    Karen  |  January 15th, 2009 at 6:44 am

  • I had a Blackberry for 2 years (at my last job). It was an 8700 so it didn’t have a camera or MP3 so it wasn’t “too much technology.” After the first couple of months, I began checking my e-mail less often. But here’s where it really helped - I got really active on a couple of really good online writing forums and support groups. I was going through a lot and the convenience was liberating! I had to return it to the firm when I quit and have been doing fine without it for the past 8 months. But yea, getting back to texting without the Qwerty keyboord took a while. ;-)

    A Lost Writer  |  January 15th, 2009 at 10:30 am

  • I rely on my cell and computer heavily for staying connected with my families and other providers in my area.
    I download and print off material for my daycare, and I also run a website for other providers during naptime and freetime.

    Instant Messaging helps me stay connected with my hubby at work and mommas who have the service at their job.

    It helps! For sure!

    Snugglesmama  |  January 15th, 2009 at 11:11 am

  • I keep asking for one but am torn as to whether it will be a good thing or a bad thing…

    Angella  |  January 15th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

  • It’s totally a double-edge sword for me. Facebook - total time suck! Blackberry - LIFESAVER - I can catch up on email on the train and while my daughter is swimming or at Girl Scouts making waiting time very productive. My new favorite website is - I’m the one coordinating cookie booths for my daughter’s Scout Troop - and it handles all the scheduling instantly - I don’t have to send emails back-and-forth, parents just sign up on line. YahooGroups! - double frustration!! Twitter - a little TMI for my taste.

    CD&DMom  |  January 15th, 2009 at 7:16 pm

  • love my blackberry

    vera babayeva  |  January 16th, 2009 at 9:27 am

  • I hear you!!! My hubby and I were introduced to the things because his cousin and her hubby had them. I admit, they are nice, and convenient. But the email thing, I’m beginning to dislike it. Honestly, the only difference between the phones is the storage, and I think some phones all have that. We didn’t have the internet on our other phones but the Blackberry would be kinda useless without the internet, so that is why I use it.

    I find that all the different settings is a bit much. You can set a ringtone for each different tone; loud, soft, vibrate, the whole 9 yards.

    Charity  |  January 19th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  • I HATE my fiance’s (jon-your-boyfriend) work blackberry. It drives me nuts that his boss can (and does) contact him at all hours. I hope I never have to have one for work. However, he also has an i-phone for personal use, and while I don’t need or want one, it certainly comes in handy when we need directions or Internet access when we’re out and about. Or to watch TV while sitting in a theater waiting to watch a movie (yes, we’ve done that. Conversation is so overrated).

    Patty T.  |  January 23rd, 2009 at 3:52 pm

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