Work life balance – From a woman’s point of view
Work life Balance. A phrase commonly referred to when comparing personal and professional spheres of life. Most often, the term is associated with working professionals and especially women, who step out of their personal spaces, and deal with people and processes outside of their supposed comfort zone.
Does that imply that women managing homes and families are completely free of the constraints of work life balance? Not so much.
If you ask me, balancing life and work applies to every single individual who has a sense of responsibility, be it personal or professional. We are all managing multiple projects in real life. Some are purely personal projects, wherein the accountability lies within us. Some are projects that are chosen by us to augment family income, justify our education, nurture our passion and grow as better individuals, and sometimes the accountability does not lie with us directly, but with the organisations that help us achieve these goals. Either way, we all are striving for perfection on any given day, whether we are working in a professional space or in our private spaces. We are all looking to strike the right balance. The real question is, why do we struggle to maintain the balance? Is there a better option available?
Let’s try to understand this better.
I have been there, believe me.
I have been a full time professional, dotting mother and an individual in my own right, all in the same breath. For almost a decade. I have also been a full-time home-maker with organisational commitments that come as a part and parcel of the life that I proudly chose, with a bag full of family commitments and ample time for self-reflection and recreation (or so I thought!) Sure enough, I have also been a hard core professional without personal commitments of any sort, solely focused on growth and progress, feeling blessed under the wings of my parents, and feeling proud of the work that I was doing every single day. This was of course during the initial phase of my career, right after completing my professional education.
Here’s what I can tell you about ‘Balance’; it is as much a myth as it is a reality. It’s more of a mental rhythm than anything else. For me, work-life balance is a politically correct phrase that actually means work-life integration. It works when you don’t try to balance your work and your life but try and combine the two aspects intelligently. If you strive for balance it may be difficult to achieve. But if you strive for harmony it may be plausibility. Jeff Bezos, the Founder and CEO of Amazon, said, “To me, balance implies a strict trade-off and I like the word ‘harmony’ much more.”
Ever wondered why it has to be balance and not harmony when we refer to the concept of comparing our personal and professional lives? Simply because it never occurs to us that a concept as important as managing work and life, both professional as well as personal spaces, can be a cyclical concept and not a linear concept. What this means is that you needn’t let one feed off the other, but let the two aspects of your life become complementary for your growth. Instead of competing with each other, the two aspects can co-exist without assuming any so-called correct proportion.
Let your work environment make you feel fulfilled so you can be a better nurturer and let your home environment put you in a state so you can give your best professionally; without a strain of guilt colour-washing your daily sense of achievement.
There is no right or prescribed way to balance your life. You need to empathise with yourself, figure out what’s important at a given point in time, and plan along. Managing your energy, time and resources well is what makes intelligently integrated harmony in life a possibility.
Let’s discuss a few ways this can be made possible.
Making time for yourself, irrespective of what you do and what you don’t do, is the first step to achieving harmony. Importance of ‘Me Time’ cannot be over-stressed. When you set aside time for self you make your happiness a priority. If you don’t feel good and deserving about yourself, no one else is expected to feel good about you. Your happiness is your DIY project. Take it seriously. Most of the times while juggling myriad responsibilities in our life; we lose the sense of who we are and what we deserve. There comes a day when we wake up feeling sore about ignoring ourselves in maze of things that either worked out or did not work out. Self-care makes you believe you deserve the best, and therefore giving your best comes organically.
Maintain a support system at all times. Invest in reciprocal relationships. Build a core group of people who value you and whom you value back. Your being over-busy can rob you of some precious connections if not nurtured. We are social beings and cannot thrive in absence of relationships we value. When things don’t work out in personal or professional life these are the valued gems we turn to for advice, guidance, affection, and support. They make us smile and allow looking at humorous side of the life till we start believing in the cyclical loop of harmony again.
3. Look after your health:
Health is wealth. Need we say more? All your achievements and all of your wealth earned have no meaning if you can’t enjoy them. Organisations will find your replacement but you may not be able to replace your lost health. Schedule time for physical activity and engage in calming activities like meditation from time to time. Make time for peace and vitality. Joy and harmony will make time for you.
4. Develop a Hobby:
Find something outside of your work that you enjoy doing. Find something that pulls you away from a routine day, and gives you a sense of self-enrichment. Let this activity shut out all the noise and take you deeper into realms of creativity and passion. The more energised you feel, the happier you will become. The happier you become, the more productive you will be. Schedule the week-ends for passion-driven goals and week-days for work-driven goals.
5. Financial well-being:
Most of the time our stress develops because we have a single source of income and absence of this source could spell perceived doom for many of us. Developing passive income sources and learning budgeting early in life helps counter this fear. Elizabeth Warren’s ‘50 – 30 – 20 rule’ is a good to place to start. Develop transferable skills that can double up as income sources in future. Now, in case you’re wondering what has financial freedom got to do with work-life balance, the answer is pretty much everything. Especially if you’re looking at taking a sabbatical for personal reasons or becoming an entrepreneur.
6. Maintain a sense of control at work:
Be organised. Narrow your span of control to 3 things at a time. Set your day’s priorities straight. When you’re able to pin-point tasks that need urgent attention, your energies are better aligned. Let the first part of your day focus on core tasks to be performed. As goes the saying, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”.
7. Make progress every day:
Of all the things that can boost inner work-life, the most important is making progress in meaningful work. It doesn’t have to be a drastic progress. Even a tiny progress in the right direction sets momentum going. Most of the time people don’t start with what is important because they’re aiming for perfection. Sometimes, done is better than perfect.
In the end, balancing work and life remains a universal goal and a constant pursuit. Moving from work life balances to smart life integration and finally to living holistic harmony may not be easy but it is certainly achievable. You’ll stumble, you’ll trip and you’ll fall right on your face but as long as you can cultivate a sense of humour, learn to laugh at yourself and brush the dust off your back, you will learn to live the lighter side of life. And be more in Harmony.
Blog Written By :
Mindfulness Coach, Certified NLP Practitioner, Founder – Your Success Story
Neha Pant Tewari is an internationally certified NLP Practitioner and Happiness & Mindfulness coach. She’s the Founder of ‘Your Success Story’ based out of Pune and holds training on Happiness, Mindset, Employability skills across diverse groups.
The following content is for information purposes only. We, in no way claim or assure that using the information can be a substitute for any kind of medical treatment if any. If you are diagnosed with any kind of medical/clinical condition please do not avoid visiting a professional.
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Our purpose is to spread positivity and motivation by focusing on self-love and self-care. We also work towards reducing the stigma around mental health and by creating mental health awareness through our blogs.
People today have forgotten how to be happy; they have forgotten what it is to be inspired what it to be real & motivated. We all are so busy with our daily lives today that we have forgotten to take time out for ourselves. We are here to remind you that you are special in your own ways. We are here to remind you that it’s okay to not finish a task, or meet deadlines, its ok not to be ok! You deserve to be happy, you deserve to smile, you deserve to be cared and loved.
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