There used to be a time when the domain of work and personal life were clearly distinct. But with globalization becoming the norm of the day the chances of work encroaching into one’s personal life and vice versa has become alarming.
If you think one day you will be lucky enough to get everything set and then relax, you are bound to be disappointed. Life will be always demanding and may not slow up any time soon. Learning to strike a balance between work and life is an ongoing art. Despite the never ending quest for ‘Work-Life Balance’ it has been cropping in our mind what does it actually mean.
Work–life balance is a broad concept including proper prioritizing between "work" (career and ambition) on the one hand and "life" (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development) on the other. It is also related to "lifestyle balance" and "life balance".
Sadly, there is no perfect ‘one-size fits all’, balance you are looking for. It is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities seems unrealistic and robotic. Life is and should be more fluid than that.
The paradox is that right balance for you today will probably be different tomorrow say when you are single or when you get married, or when you start a new career or are nearing your retirement. Work-life balance is a two-pronged approach. The other prong of work-life balance, which many individuals overlook, relates to what individuals do for themselves.
Similarly, the right work-life balance is different for an MBA aspirant, a graduate, a corporate or a women executive. Our haphazard lifestyle has put us in the paraphrase of “I am running all the time.”
At the core of an effective work-life balance are two key concepts that are relevant to all of us. They are daily achievement and enjoyment. Why do you want a better income, a new house, a good MBA college or a dream job? Achievement and Enjoyment are the front and back of the coin of value in life. Trying to live a one sided life is why so many "successful" people are not nearly as happy as they should be.
Engraining a fuller meaning of these two concepts is like half the battle won to define a positive ‘Work-Life Balance’. Most of us already have a good grasp on the meaning of achievement. But enjoyment is not restricted to simply ha ha. It means pride, satisfaction, happiness, celebration, love, a sense of well being, in a nutshell it means all the joys of living.
Being an MBA aspirant or student you need to know that you have to crack the competitive exams, cope up with the increasing exam pressure, submitting thesis on time as well as taking a good care of your health and enjoying time with your friends.
On the other hand corporate world today has become exceedingly demanding. The changing economic conditions and social demands have changed the nature of work throughout the world. Within the ramped up competition of a 24/7 business cycle, ‘work-life’ balance is becoming unbalanced. The imbalance also has a negative impact in the personal life of working people- increasing number of divorces, infertility due high stress levels, advent of nuclear families etc.
While we strike for a work life balance, we are not merely balancing our profession and family, we are also balancing our mental and status quo and thereby balancing our emotional intelligence, which is the worldly ability to manage you and to handle others. This benefits the company in the long-run.
Similarly, women work force now constitutes a significant percentage of the total work force in any organization today. Women executives have to deal with- running a home, doing daily chores like cooking/cleaning, raising family and handle the tight deadlines at home and work. The society over the years has recognized women's need to legal and financial independence. But the transition to motherhood still continues to have practical and emotional consequences. It also affects their professional stature when they return to work.
Organizations today to some extent have realized the importance of the employee-work-life balance and its importance in the efficiency of the employees. They can help facilitate work-life balance for their employees through work-life programs and training. In offices also, efforts are being made to provide friendly work atmosphere for the employees by providing all sorts of refreshments available for the employee.
The employees are given the freedom to have their own ways of doing the work. They are given the assignments with deadlines and they can have their own schedule as far as they are meeting the deadlines. Some organizations have gone to the extent of involving the families of the employees by introducing maternity leaves / paternity leaves and various holiday packages and insurance schemes. Organizations now focus on grooming their employees who are now not considered merely a work force but regarded as the 'Human Capital' of the organization.
To maintain work-life balance is an arduous task. But still it is within one’s reach, if one follows the simple tips listed here:
- Plan your agenda: Start your day by taking care of the little things you have to do at home. A little planning is essential. Taking care of home needs in advance will help you to be less tensed during working hours. Strike a work-life balance by evaluating your work-home relationships like listing out the amount of time you are spending at work and home.
- Organize: Everything in your business should be set up using logical systems so anyone needing anything can find it when they need it.
- Prioritize ruthlessly: The secret to booking your time effectively boils down to knowing what's important and what can wait. Ask questions that help you determine the level of urgency.
- Don't overbook: Things rarely go according to a prearranged agenda. Don't try to plan on doing too many things. Assume that only 50% of the things you plan on doing today will actually get done. If you don't, you'll just waste valuable time trying to find out why things didn't happen.
- Be Productive: Switch on to the work mode when you are at work. Be sure that you shut off the part of the brain that makes you worry about your home life. Remind yourself that it is work time and you need to be most productive.
- Learn to say no: One of the biggest land mines to effective time management is recognizing you don't have to agree to everything and with everyone. Use your priority criteria to identify requests that simply aren't worth your time.
- Everything is not perfect: Time management isn't an exact science. Do what you can and enjoy whatever time you spend more pleasantly or productively.
- Focus on Home Life: While you are enjoying your home life, try to avoid intruding into work life by checking emergency e-mails or answering work- related phone calls. The best way to focus on home life will be crumbled to pieces if you intrude into your work life while at home.
Hence, the concept of ‘Work life balance’ is becoming more and more relevant in a never-dynamic working environment. The role played by the individual is as important as that of the organization in managing this tumultuous see saw. One of the best approaches to this is by the use of one's emotional intelligence.
Be sure to remember that striking a work-life balance is a continuous process, rather than a one-shot deal. Work and home life should be balanced. If there is a tilt in the balance there are chances of soaring stress levels.
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