Difficulties of Work-Life Balance and 5 Ways to Overcome it
My father is a 56 years old retired army officer. He was a Major in the Indian Army, a highly responsible position, and served until 2014.
Depending on the day and occasion, a man of his rank could be responsible for about 50 soldiers.
There were no defined working hours. The longer he was at work, the more respectable the institution made him feel.
He was a tool contributing to a bigger tool that was serving to secure the others.
His work life was possible because he had an equally supportive home life.
When he was at work, he was mostly free of the demands of domestic life. The Army provided us, his family, with sufficient help for shopping, laundry, cleaning. Even his free time was spent socializing with people of similar positions. There were hardly any distractions.
A job like his demands a certain amount of effort and devotion. Had his professional life clashed with his domestic duties, his efficiency certainly would have been compromised. Perhaps a mental break down followed by long periods of resentment. The way it happens in our generation.
A good lesson we can learn from my father’s past professional life is that we should not ask ourselves to do multiple complicated things at once.
I am 27. I regularly fail when I try to handle anything more than my struggling career as a writer.
The other day I missed my deadline because I had to be on a call for two hours with my sister to support her with her new bubbling miseries.
I did not miss my deadline because I lack a drive. I don’t tag it as my personal failure. I do not accuse my distracted self and take that as a sign of insufficiency.
There are after-effects of actively engaging in someone else’s problem.
My professional and personal life sometimes are at odds and well, I can only manage out of it with sympathy, not through self-sabotaging behaviour.
We all have set our destination to a healthy work-life balance, a fantasy island which we would never quite arrive.
However, that in no way means we shouldn’t strive for a balance. Here are a few things we can do.
Let Go of the Fantasy
The biggest issue is our false expectation. We set our targets without a foot in reality. We don’t think through scenes.
The solution is that we should target the intermediate zone between our expectations and reality.
If we try to improve small things with all our honesty, there is a chance it might be possible to attain some form of balance.
Unplug From Devices
Development in the technology of access has made it impossible to have defined working hours.
This development is a success story until we avoid how it gradually conquered our private lives.
The idea is to make our quality time, true quality time. Shut your phone off and save yourself from notifications.
Be More Mindful
A calmer mind is a more present mind. We can include practices in our daily lives that can benefit our personal and professional life.
For eg., a morning routine with a session of meditation can hugely impact your decisionmaking abilities.
Avoid Energy-wasting Activities and People
Start with identifying the important activities and people in your life. Follow that by drawing firm boundaries around these activities and people so you can devote your time based on your priorities.
The idea is to drive your life and not be driven like most.
Take baby steps
Start small with breathing exercises. Or replacing alcohol with a healthier form of beverage. Or making room for a quick meditation session in the morning.
We don’t have to jump the barrier on our first attempt. We fail when we take too much too quickly. For that reason, start slow.
Experience small success and build from there.
Both work and relationships, over a sustained period, can turn into helpful support systems.
We can amaze ourselves with the possibilities of what good support systems can do for us in a long run.
At the same time, a failure on our part should call for sympathy, not self-criticism like we are used to.
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