Hi, you know jake!
Jake, a cheerful guy, promising, fun-loving teammate focused to goals and caring towards his loved ones. He has a great sense of music composition, he owned various awards for his music in college. He earns well and soon he will marry her childhood sweetheart, love of his life Rebecca. Jake’s life is sorted, It seems. (Jake is yet to know about work life balance management!)
But wait, he hardly gets time to talk to Rebecca properly in a day, meeting her at the weekends is far because his weekends are backed to meet deadlines. Above all having dinner with family, he just can’t recall, when has this happened last time. Chilling and playing guitar to compose something has become a dream nowadays, where it used to be his favorite me time, once.
And the reason is, the current professional position he is taking care is full of responsibilities, and somewhere he is ignoring to take care of himself. Among all his goods and greats he is not at all good to balance his work and life. On the other hand, he is gradually engaging his entire life into work. Oh!! You know Jake now right, found in you!!
Not only jake, but it’s also me and you. It’s a common challenge for every individual of this era. Students to employees, everyone is struggling to get their work done. Gradually it seems, live to Work, rather of Work to Live!! Just think, are you really living to pay your bills, only? Or only to meet your deadlines?
Let’s search for the answers together. Although, there is no such full proven systematic way that one could ever achieve his balance between his work and life. Achieving Work and Life balance depends on the person, like how is this affecting his well being which in turn leaving social and mental anticipation throughout.
Work life balance theory
We often say, “I don’t work on weekends” or “I forget what I do for my employer after 6 PM” and suddenly your phone flashes with a client’s query and you jump into it forgetting all your jargons. This subject as “Work-Life Balance” is a vast area of research, what socialists, economists, psychologists are religiously working since inception we can say. It’s easy for us to say we need to find work-life balance, “I am my priority”, but our socio-economic scenario constraining us to think about our finances and sometimes social recognition.
Here lie the theories curated by those researchers, that are important to understand the depth of this subject of balancing your life and work together;
Conflict Theory: This theory refers Work and Life as the contradictory bi-dimensional objects where work life is affected by the demands of family or personal life fulfilments.
Interactive Theory: this theory is highly influenced by socio-political perspectives where work and life are co-related and mutually interdependent.
Enrichment Theory: The term enrichment defines that good work-life leads to a good life and vice versa experiencing the degrees of instrumental sources (skills, abilities, values) to affective sources (mood, satisfaction) that both notions are helpful to each domain.
Spillover Theory: When the work-related mood is being carried to home and vice versa and affected by each one that is defined as Spillover. “Specific skills and behaviors which are carried from one domain to another and which results in positive or negative consequences are known as instrumental spill-over (Edward and Rothbard,2000; Kirschmeyer, 1992; Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985).”
Ecology: Here Work Life Balance defined as the compounded subject that yields additive consequence on both controlled by the same thread.
Compensation Theory: this theory refers that when one domain is used to fulfill the demand from other domain. This basically experienced when one domain is with insufficient positive experiences.
Boundary Theory: “The Boundary theory has been defined as a way in which individuals create and maintain boundaries as a means of simplifying and ordering the environment (Ashforth et al, 2000, p.474)”
Apart from these main structural theories, there are other theories for Work Life Balance such as Conservation of Resources Theory, Work Life Management Theory, Gender Inequality theory, Expansionist Theory.
How to achieve work life balance
The most expensive question. But every possibility lies within “Where there is a will, there is a way”. Now we will discuss how to manage a good Work Life Balance. Let’s see;
- Time Management: take a close look at the current situation and start measuring your every activity timely, including your Work Life and Personal Life. This time log will help you understand how you are managing time.
- Recognize Your Priorities: here you need to ask you some questions such as, what is most important to you form Work and Personal Life separately? How you take care of your priorities? What do you need to start and stop doing? Are you really doing it well? What more you can do for this?
- Keep a Journal: Maintain a diary and make a time stipulated work plan. Remember successful people plan their work and then work their plan.
- Learn to say No: You have to prioritize what you need to do for your well being. It’s completely in your hand. Say no to yourself for not working late unless there’s an emergency. At the same time say no to yourself to not engage in office work when you are with your family. If you can master this art, you will be able to achieve work life balance management with ease.
- Health: taking care of your body and mind is the highest priority. If you are not good inside you will be unable to see good outside. Give one hour every day only to yourself, exercise, meditate, read books on motivational or any subject you love, eat healthy foods.
- The time is of the Smart Workers: Using time more efficiently is an art. Say no to the time killers what you find and affecting your productive time. Try to save time, not money, because time is money.
The Challenges Ahead
- Unrealistic demands from Work front as weekend meetings, late-night client calls, unreasonable demands to meet deadlines.
- Sometimes it feels that we are controlled by the employer. All our personal aspects are only secondary.
- Unexpected competition in business and offices sometimes appears as the main challenge what we often carry home and start thinking even after office without any reason.
- The high-stress level can be defined as the main reason for the imbalance work and life.
According to the Harvard Business School Survey, 94% of the professionals work for 50+ hours a day claiming long hours are necessary.
- Recognizing your true potentials at work so that you can give your company more as you worth above all bestowing you.
- Managing time as, if you are carrying your work to home it’s your inefficiency to manage time at work also. Once one of my seniors told me so. It’s really bitter to hear you know.
- Quality time to spend with your family, actually you work to live for them.
- Nurture your talents, unlike Jake (told you at the initials of this writeup) who has true potential of composing music hardly gets time to touch his guitar. Writer Khaled Hosseini once said the person who he doesn’t nurture his god gifted talent is a donkey. Really harsh, it is when you find yourself as a donkey.
Nevermind you still have some time left. You can find some more info here
How to maintain in the workplace
- You must communicate with your employer that within what time you can provide your work. True employers always encourage time stipulated work culture.
- Keep a daily To-Do list or everyday planner and segment works according to priority.
- Set your working hours
- Learn how you can use technology to get your work done
- Take a long holiday twice a year it rejuvenates and inspire your goals.
You can also read our article on Part Time Work to maintain a healthy balance. Many are working like that.
Now it’s time to wrap. As you can see, this discussion can take a week to understand. Its entirely depends on you, how you see your life and balancing it through your wisdom and values. You need to set your priorities first then step forward toward the goals. Start practicing to balance the thread.
In our society, it is still a myth to pursue Work life balance management. Though it has been conceptualized from UK and USA near 1970 & 1980 it is still questionable in Indian Work culture. Hence, we all can dream for a healthy life both in the workplace and home for a better future of ours and of the nation.