Monday, September 7, 2009

Work and Life balance: Is it possible today?

For a break, Nick* opens his facebook page and types, “Still at work, badly in need of a coffee.’ It’s 12:00 a.m. and workaholic Nick is still in the office. Only Nick has a family which includes two kids who see very little of their father. Work and life balance is easy to achieve; so Nick knows but hasn’t managed yet in his life.

Nick is not alone; it’s not unusual for people to stay back at work each day. Here, it isn’t much about the pay but rather an urge to achieve perfection at work, dedication, eye for promotion and/or sheer habit. And when these people get holidays they carry their laptops and iPhones with them, checking their mailbox every half hour. This, however, happens even when the office doesn’t require the employee to ‘be available’ for work.

In reality, is a balance between work and personal life possible? The answer is in the affirmative. Check out these doable measures:

Do some planning:

Prioritise your work. Make a list of things/tasks to do on a day. Planning takes just a few minutes but saves unnecessary tasks and worries. Once you learn to do proper planning, say getting up an hour early, you’ll notice that you have more time to spend. In fact, planning followed by action-limiting internet and television time-will in itself help you achieve balance between work and life.

Learn to say ‘no’

When your colleagues know that you are a ‘finisher’ they may throw some of their pending works at you. Until now you were the good guy ever willing to accept the load, but at what cost? So, don’t hesitate to say a polite ‘no’. A classic line you could follow is ‘I’d love to but...’

Have a meal with your family

Food consumption is a social activity which fosters bond among people. Try having at least one meal together as a family, be it breakfast or lunch.

Flexible shifts

Today, it’s not necessary to be physically present at the work place to work. Thanks to technological advances, you can work from home using a remote computer. Few hours at the office and few at home is one of the best ways to get close to your family. To top it all, you get to be happy and active with good bye to stress. Muster courage and ask your manager if flexible shift is possible.

Say adieu to workaholism

If you are the person who puts work before anything in life, then appreciate yourself. The world needs people like you, but define your boundaries. Dedicate yourself to your job and leave work at the office. The office, like or not, will go on even without you. Hence, resist the temptation to stay back every day.

Safeguard your social life

When you submitted your resume, you never knew that your Manger would use all the means you listed (mobile/landline/chat/mail/your friends) to locate you. Subsequently, are you being summoned at unearthly hours or during holidays to your office, then time to have a chat with the Manager. Tell him your unwillingness to be ‘at sight’ every time. If your office continues to disrespect you, time to look around for another job.

*Nick is imaginary, but you'll find him in any office

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