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Continued from Previous……
In Part 4, we shall look at the possible ways to achieve better work life balance. Before we do so, I want to suggest a changed perspective.
I still hold that work is a part of life; not the whole life. Having said that, work and life interact and intermingle in such a way that it is well-nigh impossible to separate these.
What do we really mean by work life balance? A practical explanation would run like this.
“Work Life Balance is the fine balance between work and personal life achieved through good division of time, attention, resources and emotions between the two”. We try to achieve work balance life so that we remain peaceful and happy at home with those we deeply care for; and we are able to perform better at workplace so that we earn more status and money in order to satisfy our ambitions, and to bring more comforts to our loved ones.
I say that when we are looking for work life balance at the workplace, we are looking in the wrong place. I propose that the balance has to start from life; not from work.
Our life has many demands on us. Our time, attention, resources, and emotions are divided between parents, brothers, sisters, wife, children, friends, relatives, hobbies, interests, and so on. The balance therefore has to start from here. Those of us who strike a reasonable balance here attain peace and calm. They also achieve the ability to organize various factors better.
When these people are in the workplace, they bring that ability with them and are in a better position to get workplace balance.
Our emphasis is on workplace from where we wish to achieve balance in life. We say work life balance, but actually we are seeking calmness in life through balance at work. It is a not-so-hopeful situation for two reasons.
- Workplace environment and structure is not designed by us. We are only one part; small or big, but just a part in a large machine. We cannot change the work process and work environment; we have to adjust ourselves to it. How can we hope to achieve desired balance at work?
- At work, we have different, and may be more forceful, demands coming from bosses, peers, colleagues, juniors, customers etc. It is a great balancing act that we are doing all the time. We may succeed, or we may fail in spite of best efforts.
When we are able to strike balance at work, we feel peaceful and calm. We come home every day fresh and composed. We give time and attention to family and friends and make everyone calm, peaceful happy. When we return home in good mood and spread the same around, our life becomes pleasant and we carry this goodness in all that we do.
Balance in life leads to balance at workplace; and balance at work brings balance in life.
Achieving balance in life is more likely for two reasons.
- We are mostly in the middle of all the demands of life. All our relations are connected with ‘us’. This gives us a certain power over people connected with us which we can use to strike balance.
- Factors, other than relations, affecting our life are not entirely controlled by others. We may be able to exert enough influence and achieve balance.
The summary of the above concept is that work life balance can be achieved more certainly if we develop the capability to do so by organizing and achieving balance in life first; and then use the same ability and technique to achieve balance at work. Work-Life-Balance shall automatically fall into place.
In the next part, we shall discuss some practical tools to achieve better work life balance.