Can a work-life balance exist?
In a culture where maintaining work & life boundaries has always been difficult, the pandemic has just made things worse. Now more than ever, there is a need to establish clear boundaries at home and at work too (irrespective of where you are working from). South Asian cultures thrive on achievement and reward behaviour which ignores self-care and value the hustle culture.Our culture tends to also view self-sacrifice at the personal front, the ultimate virtue. It’s no surprise, therefore, that most adults today are struggling with maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Increasingly, clients are coming into therapy with work & home conflicts. Clients are either unable to say no to work at odd hours, or family members refuse to understand why they cannot interrupt a work call to attend to home duties; all because there is no longer that designated work and home space. Unfortunately, women have been at the receiving end of this more so than their male counterparts.
A good work-life balance would imply that you have harmony across the different areas of your life; and where you feel largely satisfied with the amount of time you are able to give to the different areas of your life, and the satisfaction which you derive from those areas. Before we talk about some strategies to achieve work-life balance, it’s important to understand where it is that you are lacking balance and why is it happening?
The most common causes of a poor work-life balance include the stress to perform better than others at work, increased expenses which do not match the salaries received, increased responsibilities at work or at home, having children or elderly to look after, and so on. Which one of these sounds like a valid reason for you?
Look at this work-life triangle. We need to dedicate an equal amount of time and space to each one of these areas in our lives, for it to be healthy and satisfactory. Is your work-life triangle balanced?
Here are some ways for you to achieve a better work-life balance:
Understand that it’s okay to not do it all; identify your strengths and play by it.
Ask for assistance or delegate tasks, wherever required.
There may be a hundred things on your to-do list; so segregate & prioritize them according to how urgent, and important they are.
If time seems to always be less, it’s an indication that you need to invest in time-management tools to help you understand where it is being invested.
Take frequent breaks and schedule time for things you like to do.
Find time and do something just for yourself.
Invest in a healthy body, mind & self-development.
Set clear boundaries at home with regards to when you will be accessible and when you won’t be available.
Make amenities, food, and whatever else you need, easily available to children & elderly at home, so that interruptions while working from home, can be minimal.
Most importantly, remember that it’s okay to say ‘No’. Remember that achieving a work-life balance is not a linear process; there will be days when you feel closer to the balance and days when it will seem completely unachievable, but what is important is that you keep working towards it one step at a time.