One of the common problems today every one of us goes through in our day to day life is work life balance. I have heard this term recently multiple times and I wanted to blog about my opinion on the same.
Work life and personal life are the two sides of the same coin. Traditionally creating and managing a balance between the work-life was considered to be a woman’s issue. But increasing work pressures, globalization and technological advancement have made it an issue with both the sexes, all professionals working across all levels and all industries throughout the world. Achieving “work-life balance” is not as simple as it sounds.
Work life and personal life are inter-connected and interdependent. Spending more time in office, dealing with clients and the pressures of job can interfere and affect the personal life, sometimes making it impossible to even complete the household chores. On the other hand, personal life can also be demanding if you have a kid or aging parents, financial problems or even problems in the life of a dear relative. It can lead to absenteeism from work, creating stress and lack of concentration at work.
Okay, Okay, We have heard this n number of times… so what do you want to say?
In my opinion following are the list of items which can help in achieving WLB.
- Understand what you want: You are the best judge of what you want. If you want an aggressive career then there will be obviously more work to do. If you are a person who talks about aggressive career only during the time of appraisal then convince yourself about that. If you are not able to decide what you want, no one can help you in this. IMHO, you can’t have the best of both worlds.
- Prioritize your tasks: Yes, prioritize your work. In the morning, when you get into office, list the items which are important that needs to be completed before you leave for the day.
- Have 2 sets of list. One is Critical and the other one is Non-Critical Items. Critical are the list of items which you need to deliver or which your boss has asked you to deliver.
- Non-critical are the items which you need to complete, but it is not high priority. May be you can delegate to your team members (if possible).
- There are cases where you need to move the items between the groups. You need to prioritize this based on the situation.
- Make a habit to complete the items in the list. If you have a very long to do list, then it means that you are not following what you have agreed to do. Mark items as completed as you move along and clear the list on a regular basis.
- Time Management: Everyone talks about the need for managing time, but it’s the hardest thing to implement. Maintain a list where you could specify the time spent during my day. Capture this for a week or so and analyse. You do not have to share it with your boss. It’s for you. Apart from work, there could be items like Tea break, Cigarette break, Lunch break, Browsing, Chatting, Personal E-mails, Socializing chats, Evening Walk and Reading News Feeds etc. Find out where majority of your time goes.
- Once you know where your time is spent, cut those items and see how it can be used effectively at work. As far as I know, we do not work more than 6 focused hours (most of the cases its only less than 4 focused hours of work). If we can effectively spend these hours in the day time then you can definitely complete your work by 6 PM and there is no need to stay after 6.
- If you have client calls in the evening/support the client side team, then work out a plan with your manager so that you can start little late. You can use this time in the morning to do your personal work. Adjust your work hours. I have seen the benefits of adjusting the work hours. It really helps.
- Exercise/Stay fit: The other thing which we normally miss is exercise. It could be because of laziness or not wanting to do any physical activity. Exercise will keep you fit and make you feel better.
- Hobby: Have a hobby/life outside your work. If things are not going well, this will help you focus in things outside work.
In summary, work Life Balance starts with understanding what you want. It requires a person to know how to prioritize work, say NO whenever required and manage his/her time better. It’s all about how you can juggle the elephants.
More work and less personal life create problems. The same way, more of personal life and less work also will not help. It’s not possible to exactly get the balance. IMHO, it’s more about adaptability and how one can adjust to the situation.