Work- Life balance sounds like an oxymoron. For busy professionals, especially for women, focusing on career as well as having a great personal life seems to be impossible. Can this be a reality?
We are all familiar with the routine, whether you’re a CEO or just starting your career: You wake up early, work long hours as hard as you can to get everything done, then wrap up in record time and race back home to start all over again at your “second job” at home. The speed and intensity, let alone the quality of your work, can feel impossible to sustain.
Well, the good news is that it’s quite achievable. The question is what is that you want to achieve?
Balance is about prioritizing the important elements of your life, with a sense of peace and confidence, that you’re making the right decisions for yourself, your career, and the people that matter most in your life. Balance is about more than checking off the “To Do” list. It’s about sustaining a healthy and a happy way of life.
The problem is that there is always too much to do. If you take on new responsibilities at work that come from a promotion, an exciting opportunity, or an important project, you risk personal time. On the other hand if you want to give that extra time to your home or family members, you risk the opportunities at work.
This dilemma will always be there. As a coach, I always say that the situation does not change, our approach to the situation can be changed.
What is required of you are three things – a belief it can be done, a fresh perspective, and a few good, practical ideas for how to do it. And all three are interlinked.
If you believe that it can be done, you start from a positive axis and your thinking pattern starts working backward with the end result as a goal. As a process, you start prioritizing things which you really want, things which hold maximum meaning for you. You learn to let go of rest and not with a heavy heart but with peace and contentment. If you have ever attempted a MCQ paper and have applied process of elimination, you would understand what this means.
A fresh perspective requires you to break from the shackles of stereotypes created and established by the patriarchal society. These stereotypes are deeply embedded in our culture, in our surroundings and in us. Be aware of these stereotypes. A good mother or a good wife is not subject to the norms of society but to your own value and belief system. If you were given a chance and power to rewrite the gender roles, would you write the same or would you make some changes. Then go ahead and make your own roles and rules.
Not everything needs to be invented or discovered. Few things can be inspired from what’s already happening around us. Surround yourself with colleagues and friend who are positive in their outlook and encouraging as well and who have adapted smart ways to attain the magical balance. They could be planning better or would have used delegation more effectively or would have influenced and trained their family members to play a more active role at personal front thus easing out their pressure.
When you want a change, you need to suspend apprehensions and try out things till you are successful. Giving up mid-way or disbelief definitely does not help. So, what’s the harm in trying things differently?
Warning: When you change things about yourself, your stakeholders may get confused, may feel you have gone crazy or in some extreme cases even believe that some evil forces have been working on you. This is common. People adapt to change if they see it consistently.