Creating a work-life balance is an attitude and not time divided evenly between one’s professional and personal life. Our lives have picked up pace and definitions of work and life are evolving at different speeds for different people. We have created many avenues of expression and experience. Work is not merely a means of livelihood anymore. We live our interests, express our personalities and define our identities through work.
On the other hand, our personal life has also evolved in many dimensions. Self-growth, pursuing one’s interest beyond the working profiles, quality time with family, aligning your timelines with theirs, developing a healthy social life etc. are few life decisions we are faced with on an everyday basis.
There are few questions we face every day: –
- Can we keep professional and personal life separate?
- What is quality time with oneself and one’s family?
- Can we strike a balance between the two worlds that exist parallelly?
Identify Your Core
You are the same person at work and in life. Your personality, decision-making abilities, comfort with your surroundings and emotional maturity will remain the same in both these worlds. If this core of the personality is well-defined and you know yourself well, you represent yourself well in both the worlds.
Work-Life Relationship Can be Progressive or Regressive
On one hand, you can add the pleasantness and achievements of your work into your personal life. On the other, you can take the self-satisfaction and energy of your personal life into your workspace. That keeps you progressive and satisfied. If the sense of satisfaction in either of the worlds is negative, this cycle of work adding to life and life adding to work can become regressive and dissatisfactory.
The Spillover Effect
The development of core strengths in one area of life has a collateral effect on the other areas of life. Improving people skills, taking good decisions, effective problem-solving, establishing and maintaining good communication, listening to other’s actively with undivided attention, being motivated, being happy, having empathy, having a clear vision and 100% commitment – these are a few desirable qualities in both the worlds. Developing these qualities in any one world would add an advantage in the other world as well.
However, the same spillover effect applies to stress as well. If you are stressed on any one front, it will have it’s unpleasant impact on the other aspect of your life as well.
Identify Stressors in Both Your Worlds
Knowing what stresses you gives you an advantage and increases the chances of identifying possible solutions. If you are facing a temporary stress at work, communicate it to your family. If your stress is long-term, recognize support systems to help you cope without having a detrimental effect on your health and life. Similarly, if you are going through a temporary life/family stress, talk to a colleague or your immediate superior to hold you through the stress at work. If you are dealing with a long-term life/family issue, seek the right kind of help, or talk to a professional counselor.
Enjoy the Different Dimensions of Life
Work and life are just two dimensions of life. One need not overshadow the other. Be mindful of your life desires and life choices. Ask yourself a few questions –
- Are you working out of choice or compulsion?
- Is your work adding to your happiness (work stress as a side-effect is accepted), personal growth and achievement?
- Are you comfortable with your family and share healthy relationships or you just have to manage relationships?
- Are you happy with yourself?
- DO YOU ‘HAVE TO DO’ WHAT YOU DO, or DO YOU ‘LIKE TO DO’ WHAT YOU DO in both your worlds?
As I said earlier, work-life balance is an attitude. Answers to these questions can create a healthy shift in attitude.
To use an analogy of walking – we walk with steady steps, one leg at a time, with both our legs. We can’t leave one leg behind to catch up later.
Find your own rhythm and speed, and your work and personal life will feel balanced 🙂