Today’s hectic lifestyle and competitive work environment leave us very little time for our self and our families. While we may be climbing ladders at our workplace, we might be doing so at the cost of our other life, the one at home. Hence, many corporate employees are found struggling rather unsuccessfully to strike a mid path between professional and private lives. If you have ever attended a leadership training program, you may have come also across the term ‘work life balance’ which apparently teaches you to balance work with life. So what is it and is there really such a thing at all?
In my opinion, the truth is that the idea of a Work-Life balance is fundamentally flawed. It implies that Work and Life are two separate and disjoint entities which are not true at all. This label also fosters a belief that you have to finish work and then “start” living.
The reality is that Work is an integral part of Life. In fact, during the peak of our careers, Work is the predominant part of Life. To lead joyful Life, it is therefore essential that we enjoy the work we do.
The balance required is in the time spent in Professional life and Personal life. The distribution of time in these two is a matter of personal choice. At one end of the spectrum, there are individuals who choose to spend most of their “awake” time doing professional work striving hard to bring about an ‘organisational transformation’. The other extreme end is the set of individuals who spend most of the time focused on personal life. The choices are driven by multiple factors – the key ones being what are your passions and what are your financial needs. I know of people who work professionally primarily to support their needs related to personal passions/hobbies like photography.
There is nothing right or wrong about the choice we make in this area. Like any choice we make, we need to own up the consequences of the choice.
My suggestions for your consideration –
- Give your full attention to the Now – whether it is Professional work or Personal work
- Decide the priorities (which can change over time)
- Be comfortable in navigating through the seamless integration of professional and personal life
As a speaker and trainer at some of the top leadership development programs in India, I hope my observation and experience can make a difference!