Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Balancing Act of Life and work

It’s mid of a busy week for me, and abruptly, my attention is diverted towards the thought calendar at my desk. I suddenly realize that it’s been a year I’ve had it at my desk and I forgot to flip the page to today’s date – something I’ve been doing for the last 11 months, without fail. Quite ionically, as I flip the page, it reads – “Let me take a little space and time out of my busy day to reflect, as this will allow me to get more things done”, making me ponder over the deep meaning it withholds. 

We have known the old proverb – “Health is wealth” since time immemorial. But how many of us have ignored it, valuing the latter more than the former by pulling back-to-back all-nighters or forgoing quality time with family and friends for the sake of our careers?

Nearly everyone has, I’d bet. The reasoning is simple; usually it’s “Oh, this is just a temporary thing; as soon as the crunch time is over I’ll spend some time with my family/at the gym/with my kids to make up for it.” And yet there always seems to be another crisis around the corner, waiting for us, making us hedge our promises again and again.  

Stress has become an integral part of our lives, and most of it is induced from the work we do. Our over-indulgence into the never ending rat race of meeting(or succeeding) our standard of living affects not only our relationships with people at a macro level, but also, and more alarmingly so, our health. It only takes a few days for the signs of all late nights, carrying work to home, skipping meals and missing out on leisure to show up on our body. What follows is a series of physical as well as mental anomalies turning the world upside down for us.

Work-life balance is the key solution to this problem. It involves proper prioritizing between "work" (career and ambition) and "lifestyle" (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development). 
Work-Life Balance does not mean an equal balance. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than that. Life will deliver the value and balance we desire, when we are achieving and enjoying something every single day, in all the important areas that make up our lives. 

As a result, a good working definition of Work-Life Balance is: “Meaningful daily Achievement and Enjoyment in each of our four life quadrants: Work, Family, Friends and Self.” (Source:

Here are a few tips on how one can lead a healthy lifestyle whilst keeping their bosses happy.

1. Let go of perfectionism
As you climb the ladder at work and as your family grows, your responsibilities mushroom. Perfectionism becomes out of reach, and if that habit is left unchecked, it can become destructive. A healthier option is to strive not for perfection, but for excellence.

2. Unplug
There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment. Don’t text while on a date or watching movie with friends, and don’t send work emails while you’re hanging out with family. Make quality time true quality time.

3. Exercise and meditate
Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood and can even serve a great deal by also putting you in a meditative state.

4. Limit time-wasting activities and people
Identify what’s most important in your life. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects your priorities, not someone else’s. Focus on the people and activities that reward you the most.

5. Start small. Build from there.
Our lives run on the habits we have developed. Starting in smaller proportions, embrace the positive habits and eradicate the negative ones from your life.

“Life is what we make it, has always been, will always be.” - Moses

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty
   Faculty, INLEAD

Images Courtesy- Google Images 

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