Work-Life Balance: Lead a fulfilling life
There was a time when a person's worth was measured by the number of hours he/she clocked at work. But today, those who give equal importance to their life outside the office are the ones considered a success.
The concept of "Work-Life Balance" is relatively new, only dating back to the 1980s. It has its origins in an anthropological view of happiness, which is defined as little separation between work and play. Broadly speaking, it involves striking a balance between your profession and other parts of your life such as family, hobbies and other areas of personal fulfilment. It is considered essential to impart meaning to your life, and in turn, make you a better employee.
New research on productivity and engagement along with the rise of lifestyle ailments has led both employers and employees to encourage a greater sense of self-responsibility. Whether it's taking an hour out daily to hit the gym, leaving the office in time to see your kids before their bedtime or religiously taking that two week annual vacation, a regular dose of downtime is now being prescribed at work.
But what is the ideal work-life balance and how do you achieve it? For starters, there is no one-size-fits-all. It’s an individual thing, dependent on a person's lifestyle, personality and job. For some, it could mean disconnecting totally with work after leaving the office. Others may see it as the freedom to decide what to do with their time. To a third set, it may mean being able to spend quality time with the family.
Despite the absence of a standard metric, there are certain aspects to a work-life balance everyone should be aware. Those are:
It isn't a 50:50 ratio
Work-life balance does not mean dividing your time equally between work and personal time. Such a rigid compartmentalization is a sure recipe for failure and frustration. There will be times when you will need to spend extra hours in office or at home. What's important is that you are comfortable with where you are spending your time.
It changes over time
The ideal work-life balance changes over time. A formula that worked when you were unmarried may no longer hold true after marriage, when you have to devote more time to your kids and family. It will change again during the final stages of your career when your children are old enough to take care of themselves and you have to factor in health issues while deciding how much time to devote to your career.
It entails sacrifice
Along with work-life balance comes the recognition that there will be certain things you can take on and others that you can't. There will be times when you have to say no to people, assignments and money. Knowing what is important and prioritizing those things is key to achieving a successful work-life balance.
It demands you take a long-term view of life
It makes no sense to try and achieve a work-life balance on a day-to-day basis. Life is unpredictable and there is every chance that you will lose your balance on some days. So it's important you take a slightly long-term view while assessing the pace of your life. Have you been able to devote adequate time to family, friends and activities that lead to personal fulfilment over the past two years? Or has your career left you with no time?
It means you enjoy your success
Success and pleasure are what give your life meaning. Success fills you with a sense of accomplishment, while pleasure allows you to enjoy the fruits of success. Working towards both success and pleasure on a regular basis is the key to leading a meaningful life.
• Don’t let your key relationships suffer because you have a busy schedule.
• Think in terms of how you want to be remembered and work towards that.
• Invest in your health by taking care of yourself.
• Meditate; it will keep you grounded and productive.
• Remember - you live only once, so don’t forget to have fun!