Do you Maintain a healthy Work-Life Balance?
The likely answer may be an emphatic “NO” especially if you are an IT professional. But don’t worry you are not alone! The same answer may come out of most of the working professionals.
If your answer is a “YES”, then you are one of the lucky few to achieve this feat. Obviously, this requires a lot of conscious effort and your efforts are bearing fruit. Well done!
I do not mean to bring in negativity, but your “YES” could also be because you are :
- Unaware that this problem exists
- Aware of the problem but consciously ignore this
- Not ready to accept this as a problem
- Probably not working to your full potential
- In alignment between your work and your passion. Thereby, work is more like fun, and you don’t feel the lack of work-life balance
I also want to point out, that the work-life balance issue is not limited to the field of IT profession alone. There are many other jobs as well, where people do put in long hours. And this causes people to have a poor work life balance. However, as a person who has spent more than 2 decades in the IT industry, I have seen this widely prevalent amongst this group.
A few months ago, I had put in a LinkedIn post on Work-Life balance. And it evoked a good number of views and comments as compared to my other posts. Guess what? Most, of the people who commented, were IT professionals.
However, I think it is less dependent on your profession. It is more an individual issue and depends on the choices made by you regarding your work life.
What is work-life balance?
Work-Life balance is all about maintaining a healthy balance of work life versus your personal life. It is about managing your time efficiently between work and personal priorities without any significant impact to either.
What are the signs indicating that you have a poor work-life balance?
Many people fail to identify or ignore the signs of a poor work-life balance. Our body and our environment give us enough indication of this problem. The trick, however, is to understand these signals, acknowledge the problem and try to address this.
Below are the typical signs you can observe which indicate poor work-life balance and call for remedial actions.
You observe that you:
- Experience constant body pain
- Feel perpetually tired
- Always feel stressed out
- Do not have fun anymore
- Are missing deadlines on work or personal front or both
- Get irritable and lose your temper easily
- Do not have time for self-care
- Get family complaints that they don’t get enough of your time
- Hear your friends say that you are not visible anymore in social events
Why do people ignore to maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Most people know the importance of this. But continue to give high priority to work often ignoring activities on the personal factors. Why?
Some of the reasons could be:
- Job insecurity: Fear of loss of job creates undue pressure on the people. This could be due to their financial/other needs that forces them to keep their current job. People take up more work and put in long hours to honour the commitments made. They do this to show that they are contributing value to their job organization and keep their job
- Fierce competition in the organization: The current job environment is highly competitive and there is high pressure to always stand out from the crowd. This forces people to take up more work and leads to poor work-life balance
- Lack of relevant skills: Sometimes you are forced to take up work which may need you to pick up new skills. This causes you to spend more hours on the work which could have been faster if you had the right skills
- High ambitions: Some of the people are highly ambitious in their career and may take on unrealistic targets or deadlines. This forces them to work long hours and under extreme stress which creates a poor work-life balance situation
- Unable to say “NO” to their superiors: Many people are unable to say ‘NO’ on the work front even if they are tied up to their neck with work. This results in more work getting assigned to them and creates a poor work-life balance scenario for them
Why should you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
A healthy work-life balance is very important in your climb to success in life. If you need help on how to define success in life please check here .
Get ME time to focus on self-care
I have heard some renowned leaders say that you should be in love with your job and not your company. Reason being, that your relationship with your company is not secure and can be lost.
Many times, it is not on performance grounds only. There could be environmental factors, beyond your control, which could lead to this unfortunate situation.
However, if you love your job you will focus on honing up the required skills. And you also pick up new skills to stay relevant in the ever-changing business and technology environment. For this, you need some “ME” time to focus on your self-development.
In the absence of a good work-life balance, this may not be possible.
Get more time with family
If you are a workaholic, you give the highest priority to work and ignore family time. But, you must remember that nobody is indispensable in any organization. It can always replace you with another workaholic may be at a lower cost. In the IT world, which is moving towards automation and robotics, you could lose your position to a machine.
But your family would always be with you.
So, you should prioritize work so that you don’t ignore your family commitments.
Keep good health
I am sure you have come across the phrase ‘Health is Wealth’ and know the importance of keeping good health. If you are in good health, you can be independent and can earn your living.
You must also remember that if your health deteriorates beyond a point it is difficult and sometimes even impossible to get back to normal. This makes you end up making compromises in your life.
A poor work-life balance increases the stress levels and gives you little time to take care of your health and fitness. As a result, your health gets affected in the long run if you don’t take any timely corrective action.
You are solely responsible for your health choices and must also bear any consequences that arise due to these. Nobody else knows about your health better than yourself. So, take appropriate action to keep an optimum work-life balance if it is causing health issues.
Get more time for hobbies or things of interest to you
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a proverb that we probably have been hearing since childhood. As per Wikipedia, the exact origins of the phrase remain unclear, though it was recorded as early as 1659.
In essence, this proverb means that if you focus only on work and don’t spend time on off-work activities, your life becomes boring. You start losing interest in work as well as in personal life.
In addition it creates a perception that you are a boring person, within the people who you interact in your daily life.
However, a focus on things that interest you or keeping a hobby will help to remove the boredom from your life.
For this, you need to have some time off work that you can devote to these activities. With a healthy work-life balance, you will have the time as well as energy to focus on these activities.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
If you have read this blog so far, I believe you find this interesting. The next question would be how to keep a healthy work-life balance.
I suggest the following actions you can take which will help you maintain a good and healthy work-life balance:
- Develop and maintain a daily routine with dedicated time for off-work activities
- Devote some time at the beginning of your workday to plan and prioritize activities for the day
- Decide the best time of the day where your productivity is high and reserve this for the most difficult task of the day
- Minimize the distractions during the work time so that all planned activities are completed on time
- Learn to say “NO” and politely decline new tasks if you already have many things on your plate. If this is not possible then re-prioritize other tasks to accommodate the new task
- Spend time with family so that you give attention to their needs and expectations
- Keep some “ME” time to take care of your personal needs
- Set aside some time for your physical fitness – a morning walk, exercising in the gym or at home, meditation, etc.
- Take up a hobby or any activity that is of interest to you and devote regular time to this
Work-life balance is important in your life so that you live a healthy and prosperous life.
Most people do have poor work-life balance issues, but it is mostly their creation. Firstly, you need to acknowledge this problem and then make sincere efforts to control and improve this. A healthy work-life balance would not happen automatically and nobody else will make it happen for you.
Our body will give enough indications that there are work-life balance issues, but we need to understand these signals and take timely corrective action.
I discussed the effects of a poor work-life balance and why people ignore attention to this.
Also I pointed out the importance of a healthy work-life balance and put forth my suggestions on how you can achieve and maintain this.
I hope you found this blog interesting and my suggestions help you maintain a good work-life balance.
I would like to know your views, comments on this post. Please do share.
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