Most of us think of balance as a state of absolute equilibrium—frustratingly unattainable. And most us think of balance only as juggling work and life.
I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but the word “balance” doesn’t exist in our ever so demanding lives. On one hand, there’s work, job promotions, goals and making money and on the other, there’s health, family, friends, holidays…. you name it!
When we talk about work–life balance, we talk about prioritizing between work related things and lifestyle related things. That very idea suggests that there is some perfect ratio between time spent on work and time spent on everything else.
Work-Life Balance does not mean an equal balance. Scheduling an equal number of hours for each of your work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than that.
But as humans, we’re always trying to come into balance on all levels. Balance between thinking and feeling; giving and receiving; moving fast and slow; and of course, between work and play.
Here comes the main challenge: How do you balance everything?
Career vs family
Taking risks vs being conservative
Chasing money vs intrinsic rewards
Working vs holidaying
Giving vs taking
Thinking of yourself vs others
Spending time with family vs friends
Deciding seems impossible. The result? Stress, worry, anxiety….
Research shows that people who believe they don’t have time for their personal life, feel drained and distracted at work. How happy you are profoundly influences how well you do your job. Reams of research shows that what we do outside of work thoroughly influences the energy, motivation, focus, creativity, persistence, insight, and raw intellectual power we bring to a given project or task at work.
The better your personal life is, the higher your potential to do great work.
My husband and I have 2 children and we’ve always been struggling to find a balance in our lives. But now, we’ve decided to simplify things.
90% of our time goes to family, work and ourselves. 10% to maintaining relationships that
matter. All the other things in life - IGNORED!!!!!
ABSOLUTELY NO BALANCE!
We spend too much time balancing things we don’t need in our lives. That turns our life into a circus act. Balance only makes life complicated. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind complicated things. I like men and maths. (on a lighter note) But I don’t like complicating simple things. Work-life balance is only an issue if you turn it into one. And why do you even need to balance a thousand things?
If you read the article “Balance is Bunk” by Fast Company, it tells you that balance is for fat people. If you are hungry to make it big in this competitive world, then achieving balance should be the last thing on your mind. While in the early stages of your career, for most of those who don’t have wife and children, focus on your career and your health. Give all the time you can to making it up the ladder while also ensuring you mental and physical state is intact. As time passes by and you have families of your own to manage, all those years of hard work would have hopefully paid off and it should have helped you save enough to give you time to focus on your family.
A lot of people I know think that it is imperative to have a career and make big money and hence, they devote themselves to their work while side-lining their husbands/wives and/or kids. One thing they do need to realise is that while a lot of people are running around in circles chasing money, there are an equal number of people who might be running around chasing your husband/wives. So, if you aren’t going to give them the time they deserve, someone else might!!!
Everything in life comes at a price. You must give some to gain some. Achieving balance in your life might be farfetched but being able to prioritise based on your current needs sounds more achievable.
While I absolutely believe in the fact that it is very difficult to find balance in our lives especially for the “hungry”, here are a few pointers that might help you maintain some sanity in this rat-
race that we are competing in:
Take time to understand yourself
Once you know your goals in life and the people that matter to you, that’s half your battle won! If you learn to prioritise according the situation, it will be easier to tune your mind to the fact that balance is not necessary always. In each phase of your life, your priorities will differ, and
hence, tune yourself accordingly.
When fear, self-doubt or anxiety creeps in, do some work on your mental health such as meditation or reading a book. Alternatively, spend time with someone who will lift you up and support you.
Technology should help make your life easier, not take control of your life. Ban technology at certain times so that you can focus on your work, family or friends. If you can give your children or your spouse 100% of your attention, even for a brief period, it’s much better than compromising and giving them some time because you think you should. Alternatively, use Skype for meetings when possible. It will save much of your travelling time.
Make time for something you love other than work. It will energise and refresh you and enable you to nurture the creative thought that is essential for you to grow.
At the end of each working day, perform a little self-analysis. Ask yourself what worked today, what didn’t, what went wrong and how it can be fixed. Remember, there are hundreds of people like you, learning the same lessons every day.
It’s easy to cancel the gym, the evening run or the Zumba class because of your busy work schedule. Instead, ensure exercise is given as much priority as your work and family. A healthy body means a fresh mind, which will help you function better.
Remember, that you can respectfully decline offers to do everything that people around you may ask/want/expect you to do. When you stop doing things out of guilt, you'll find more time to focus on the things you want to do.
Superwoman and Superman are fictional characters. Real people can't devote 100% to everything they do. Stop feeling guilty if you miss an occasional football game or take a day off from work if you are feeling unwell.
Allow yourself to daydream during your coffee breaks and appreciate the small joys of life when you have the opportunity to. If you don't allow yourself pockets of personal time, you'll become too burned out to fully appreciate any part of your life.
So, remember, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT. YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL.
You have just one life. Make it fulfilling!