Much has been discussed about work-life balance in the working class, with its achievement seen as the holy-grail for all. Your life will be filled every day with stress if there is no time for leisure activities like indulging in a hobby, spending time with the kids and spouse, going for a walk in the park, etc. As much as these are considered as the pleasures of life, when we do not schedule time for such activities, it puts you in a position of grave danger. “Grave danger,” you might ask. “Isn’t that a rather strong claim to make?” Yes it is. Japan is at risk of having more than 20 percent of its workforce die from overwork. In fact, they even have a term for it – “Karoshi”, which literally translates to “overwork death” in Japanese. Clearly, we are not far from the day when work-related death reports are plastered all over business newspapers and magazines.
Despite the number of tasks and projects that may be completely dependent on you, there needs to be a balance struck between your personal and professional life. A change like this can be done only by you. As one of the world’s most respected CEOs, Jack Welch, the turnaround man of GE, says, “There is no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices –you make them, and they have consequences.”
There is no rule when it comes to setting up a right work-life choice; you have to set a routine where one doesn’t overwhelm the other. You shouldn’t have a schedule where you happen to miss a lot of workdays because you wanted to overcompensate for the days missed earlier with the family. That’s not how it works. If you do something like that, then you become less of an asset to your company. Strive for balance.
Often, people try to justify the lack of work-life balance or their choices for one or the other with the following reasons:
I shower my family with gifts
No matter how many Xboxes and jewellery sets you buy for your spouse, nothing is going to make a difference as much as spending time with them. After a point, money, or any of the facilities that money provides, don’t matter. Designer clothes, expensive toys, even a Lamborghini cannot replace time spent with a loved one. Never be delusional enough to think that gifts are enough in a relationship.
I will spend time on holidays
Not only is this not going to work ever, it also puts undue stress on you during the holidays, as being with the family will become more of a chore than something to look forward to. Why don’t you make it simple by squeezing in some time every day, even if it is as less as 30 minutes every day? No matter how much time you invest on a holiday, it just won’t work. After all, you would rather be resting on holidays since it seems that you nary have any time for yourself on working days. Doesn’t that worry you at all?
I spend time at home while I get work done too
An ideal time with the family should not include them seeing you with a laptop on the bed. Nope, that’s not how it works. No work is more important than your family – there, I said it. Unless you are serving the nation, or are a doctor about to save the life of another human being, all work is at a lesser priority than family.
I owe my time to the company as much as I owe it to the family
There is nothing further from the truth. Yes, I understand that you are paid to do a job, and yes, you do owe a lot of things to your boss, but certainly not everything, including your health, happiness and family time. Give yourself some space and put your foot down when it comes to things that eat into your family time.
Achieving a balance between work and life is always challenging for us. You need to be sure what your priorities are, and ensure that you do not drift away from the thing called “family time”.
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