What does work-life balance does not mean?
Work-Life Balance should not be construed as allocating equal time for each of your professional and personal activities, which can be unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is not arithmetic; it’s more complicated and multidimensional than that.Each individual should find their perfect work-life balance, and it is likely to vary over time, often daily. The right balance is dynamic and tagged to the changing phases of an individual’s life, from being a bachelor to reaching retirement phase.The right work-life balance varies with every individual, as we all have different priorities in life.
What does work-life balance mean?
Work-life balance means the level of prioritization between personal and professional work in an individual’s life and the extent to which job-related activities intrude into your own space. However, creating a harmonious work-life balance is crucial in not only maintaining our physical, emotional, and mental health, but also our career health.
Generally, every individual shall spend time on four dimensions of life, between which a delicate balance needs to be maintained throughout.
i. Time for Self
ii. Time with Family & Friends
iii. Time spent at Workplace
iv. Time spent on Community
The eight tips outlined here are designed to help you find the right balance and harmony in your work and personal lives so that you can enjoy the best of both the worlds.
1. Be clear about your priorities
Figure out your preferences as per your own goals, and not what you think they should be according to societal norms. Ask yourself, “If I could only focus on one thing in my life, what would it be?” And that should be your top priority, and the rest should follow in the order of significance and availability of time. Have a time management plan according to your priorities and implement it, so that you can cut out tasks that have little to no value.
2. Focus on one thing at a time- Be in the present
Forget multi-tasking. It’s not possible to focus on two things at the same time. Instead, devote your full attention to the task at hand. When you are working, work. When you are spending time with your family, ensure it is quality time spent.
3. Respect your Me Time
Give your time the same respect as you give it to your professional time. Once you’ve scheduled your time, you need to protect it, unless there’s an emergency.
4. Learn to Say ‘No’
Based on your upbringing and personal values, saying NO to someone becomes tough and awkward. But you need to say it as, and when it’s required, else you stand a risk of losing your personal space and peace of mind. The ability to say no is, without a doubt, one of the most important skills any professional should possess, but it can be the most difficult to learn and get used to. But if you say yes, all the time, then be prepared for tight deadlines, unreasonable requests, and possible late nights, putting you under a lot of pressure. Learning to say no in a polite yet firm way, will revolutionize your working life, especially once you find that people are a lot more receptive to the word than you had thought earlier.
5. Time management
Being on top of your time and managing it according to your schedule will reduce wasted hours, help you to keep deadlines, and, more importantly, make you look good at work. All of these things contribute towards better productivity and performance from your end.
6. Unplug to de-stress
The latest technologies have ensured a tightly connected world that is never off. If we can cut ties with the outside world and give ourselves some space, then it allows us to recover from the stress. This kind of break helps us to rejuvenate and be at our best once we restart our routine. We can unplug by various means as simple as practicing transit meditation or going on a nature trek with no communication connectivity with the external world.
7. Demarcate boundaries
You have to set boundaries for yourself and your colleagues to avoid overworking and burnout. Leave the office on time and never carry office issues to your home and vice versa. Let your colleagues know how much responsibility are you prepared to shoulder and to what extent can you get involved in work-related tasks. Never allow anyone to intrude into your personal space.
8. Make time for yourself and your loved ones.
Undoubtedly career is essential, but that itself should not encompass your life completely. Understand that you are an individual first and professional later, and you should schedule your activities according to your priorities.
No matter how tight your schedule might is, never lose control of your time and life.
Because in life, everything is in context to time. If you lose out on time, then it’s lost forever.
Let’s understand that there is no ideal work-life balance. Don’t strive for that perfect schedule; instead, have a realistic one. On some days, you might focus more on work, while on other days, you might feel like spending more time and energy to pursue your hobbies or spend time with your loved ones. Balance is achieved over time and not instantly.
Five benefits of work-life balance
1. It will help in maintaining positive mental health and combat stress more appropriately.
2. It will help in ensuring good physical health and well being.
3. It will energize you to perform optimally and progress in your career.
4. It will groom you into a more rounded and grounded personality.
5. You have one life, so better live it to its fullest extent without regrets of having missed out on any of the significant phases of your life. It will help you in optimal living.
Anyone can have an opinion on you, but you have to live your life the way you want to as long as it is neither illegal nor immoral. Live your life for your dreams, goals, and aspirations. Never fall into the trap of success as defined by someone else or society at large. You introspect, understand what makes you happy, and strive for success as defined by you. I want to end by quoting Christopher Morley, “There is only one success, to be able to spend your life in your own way.”