Research Strand 3: Self-Reflection and Work-Life Boundaries

A study led by Dr Rosie Robison, Research Fellow at the Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, in collaboration with the rest of the Digital Epiphanies team.

Research Overview

How well do you know yourself, and are you interested in knowing more? The act of ‘self-reflection’ involves thinking about your own thoughts, feelings and actions, and can be helpful in making decisions about how you want to organise and live your life.

You might have reflected in the past about different aspects of your own work-life balance, for example, you might have wished that you worked fewer hours, or that you didn’t feel the need to check your work email when out with friends. You might have tried out different strategies for a while to keep on top of it – did you monitor whether they were successful, or whether they lasted?

We are interested in two aspects of the interplay between self-reflection and digital technologies, in the context of Work-Life Balance:

  • There are many different ways of reflecting, and some seem to be more helpful than others at prompting sustained behaviour change. Are people who reflect in different ways better able to manage technology in their life in a way they are happy with?
  • Can digital tools, which can be used to monitor our behaviour, help us to reflect on our own work-life balance, in ways which are helpful?

Our Participants and Methods

In this part of the Digital Epiphanies project we are conducting a number of survey studies with members of the public (aged over 18) from a range of backgrounds. Some are by invitation only, but several are open to all, and will be advertised on this site as well as elsewhere.

The surveys are all completed online and take between 5 and 30 minutes.

Want to know more?

If you would like to find out more about these studies, please get in touch with Rosie. We have also included a little more information below about some of the aspects of the research.


There are many ways one can ‘self-reflect’. In recent years for example, the practice of ‘mindfulness’ has become more widely known in the UK, and is now recognised as helpful for health conditions such as stress and anxiety. Mindfulness involves becoming more aware of ones thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, in the present moment. Mindfulness is a particular form of self-reflection which is taught. However we all self-reflect in some ways during our everyday activities, whether that is re-playing things which have happened to us in the past, or noticing that a particular action does or doesn’t make us feel good.

Personal Informatics

Personal monitoring has become much more accessible in recent years, to those with an internet connection, due to technological advances. Personal Informatics is the use of ‘apps’ or web-based tools to monitor everything from sleep to finance to email use – see this website by researcher Ian Li for a list of such tools. Quantified Self are a collection of people interested in self-tracking, and a good source of information to find out more.


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