Abraham Lincoln once wisely remarked, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years”. But that was many years back, and people, with their short memory spans, have long forgotten the words of wisdom. If you need proof, take a look around you and observe – you will see hectic activity, you will see people burning the midnight oil because they want to overachieve, you will see businessmen who behave like megalomaniacs, you will see almost everyone possessing an insane desire to possess unheard-of riches, and you will not see people resting or taking time off to be with their family and friends.
You will also see, or even feel, the consequences of this activity – stress levels will shoot up, strain will multiply, friends and family will start feeling alienated and work will begin swallowing life instead of it being the other way round.
Have you experienced any of the above symptoms? If you have then your work–life balance has been thrown out of gear and you know about it.
So, do you really want the situation to get out of hand and lead your life into a black hole? Or, do you want to begin organizing your work and life in such a way that both exist in perfect harmony? If you want to achieve a balance between work and life, then this article is for you. Please read on.
It’s Time For Analysis
When you feel things have gotten out of control, then it’s time to sit down and analyze. First and foremost, get it into your head that work is just a means to an end, not the end in itself. End is living your life – a healthy, happy and content life – in a meaningful way. And this is what you must do to have a serious look at your work–life equation:
1. Prioritize: Your life demands that you pay attention to spouse, children, health, work, friends, leisure, hobbies and social service – in that order. Now, write down these on a piece of paper and find out how much time you are devoting to each of these activities. Remember, your focus must be on family, a satisfying job and health – everything else comes next. So, go ahead and plan your activities and make a timetable. When you pay more attention to things that matter the most, you will find yourself closer to achieving the desired work–life balance.
2. Censor: There is no doubt that you will be whiling away your time indulging in an activity that you can easily do without. For example, lying on the couch and watching too much television, downing alcohol with friends regularly, the usual procrastinating, etc. Make a list of these useless activities too and eliminate them in a gradual manner.
3. Time Matters: You’ve heard of the saying “Time Flies”, haven’t you? Well, it certainly does and one day you will suddenly realize that had you utilized your time efficiently you’d have spent more quality time with your family and extracted more pleasure out of life. But now you cannot do that – because time has passed by you – your children have grown up and have no time for you – your spouse doesn’t love you the way she/he used to love you before you married her/him – and so on and so forth. Before this realization hits you – ACT. Preserve your private time and spend it with your family. Have fun with them, spend tender and memorable moments with them – moments that you will cherish forever.
Achieving Work–Life Balance
No one’s asking you to stop working or stop making more money. Go ahead and do what your heart desires – only thing: do it in such a way there’s a sense of balance and symmetry all around you. And here’s how you can achieve work–life balance:
· For starters, work with a company that believes in maintaining friendly relationships with their employees. Do not work under megalomaniac CEOs or for companies who believe in ruling the Earth.
· Work flexible hours – if you are working with a friendly company, they will allow it. Maybe they will even allow you to work from home for a couple of hours!
· Once you have succeeded in allocating time for your family and friends, then it’s time to put your analysis into action. If you have done what we have told you to do above, you’ll be having a work–life schedule that’s ready to roll out. So, go ahead and roll it out!
Once you achieve work–life balance, you will find that your stress has been considerably reduced, you will feel inspired, more productive and happy. You will make your family happy too – something you always wanted to do, but it somehow got pushed into the dark corners of your mind due to monetary considerations. You will be bathed in sunlight, there will be a bluebird on your shoulder, God will be in his heaven and all will be right with the world.