The eternal chase for the ‘perfect’ work-life balance has been the aim of the life of any professional today. The glamour of working 18 hours out of 24 and being lauded as a ‘hard-worker’ has long since passed. Studies now show a rise in the number of workers who would take a price-cut for a better work-life balance.
The greatest myth that surrounds of notion of work-life balance is the fact that to achieve it, you need to be stellar at time management. While it is true that you should delegate your professional and personal time, the balance doesn’t lie solely on the same. Instead of asking yourself how you should manage your time, you should re-evaluate your everyday lifestyle and then make any necessary changes.
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Speaking about what determines work-life balance, Stuart R Levine, CEO of Stuart Levine & Associates LLC, writes, “Candidly, people oversimplify the issue. They reduce it to time management, but that’s only about 30 percent of the answer. For me, a real-life solution involves reevaluating the way we think, act and communicate. We need to elevate the conversation around work-life balance to focus on the higher issues: working and living with purpose, clarity and focus.”
To this end, here is a list of factors you should also take into account to achieve a greater work-life balance.
Instead of focusing on what takes the most amount of time to do, you should concentrate instead on what you’re doing every day that drains out most of your energy. It could be making a dozen stressful phone calls a day, attending a series of meetings or looking over project details. Whatever it is, it’s clearly an important part of your day and cannot be overlooked. Similarly, it cannot be overbooked. To this end, you need to strategise on how to compartmentalise that particular task you are expected to carry out. This way, you can either place it somewhere else on your day’s schedule, which should ideally be when you are at your most productive, or you can divide up the task through the day. The first step lies in identifying the source. The second, lies in working around it.
Instead of running your hands by everything that lies in front of you within an eight-hour framework, you should focus on work that needs done right away so that you do not have to face the stress of a last-minute deadline or the wrath of your boss for a missed submission altogether. Getting the urgent matter out of the way in the beginning can help you get by the calmer remaining half of the day, as a result of which you will be in better spirits – both physically and mentally – by the time you get home from work.
My math professor, who looked remarkably like Albert Einstein, once told me, “Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses.” While he was probably referring to my aptitude for trigonometry over differentiation, the principle holds true for everything in life. At work too, you need to recognise your strengths – what it is that you like to do the most in a day, and then become the best at it. Spending time on getting better at something you like and what you’re good at will help you go miles ahead of the pitfall you could face by wasting time on what you have no interest in. Not much of a Catch 22 is it?
While everyone’s idea of a great work-life balance is highly subjective and differs according to aptitude and attitude, you need to remember that while it is important to manage time, it is equally necessary to restructure your life around your everyday strengths and weaknesses and work it to its maximum potential.