Everyone needs to work for a living. Fortunately, some get more than basic things from it- an internal self-satisfaction and sense of power of certainty. Work has been a habit, to some it works like an addiction and to others just a way for surviving. With time being, people are found to be adhering towards work like it’s the only aspect of life that is to be fulfilled rigorously and consistently. They forget that other aspects of their lives are equally important and play equally important roles. Knowingly or unknowingly, work has collided with other areas of life in most people. And their work-life balance comes into the frame. This term was coined in 18th century, before there used to have no limits or set of time of working, and often work overlapped with other aspects of life. Robert Owen introduced this term to make balance between career, family and other areas of life so he did advocate for the universal “8 hours labor, 8 hours rest, 8 hours recreation”. First he experimented with this approach to his factory and soon he established a community in the United States that would adhere to the approach.
The term work-life balance doesn’t mean work and other aspects of life should be in an equal ratio but healthy workout between the two. It’s not possible in today’s life to give equal contribution of time to both, sometimes work may need a great deal of time and same goes with other aspects. It seems ideal to give half time to work and half to family or friends. It's not possible so one should always strive for a realistic one rather than striving for a perfect routine. Work-life balance is the equilibrium of prioritizing between the demands of work and demands of family. And it’s important to know one's role in every aspect of life. Maintaining work life balance helps reduce stress, burnout from work and maintain good relationships with a peaceful mind.
Employees who overwork tend to burnout at work and that leads to fatigue, irritability, mood swings and decrease in work performance. And with this mental state they won’t be able to rest properly and that hampers with other aspects of life. The imbalance can create stress at work and unhealthy relationships at home. And chronic stress invites many health problems. It can lead to physiological consequences such as pain, digestive problems, heart ache, hypertension. It doesn’t only affect physically but mentally too. There's a higher risk of insomnia, depression and anxiety. Work life balance helps to be aware which areas of their lives needed more focus. Knowing what is lacking and what should be done is the solution to the problem. And one can be aware of such by analyzing one’s schedule, a day to day routine. If you are leaving work, all the work problems should be at the workplace only and when you reach home your focus should be on family. You should solely focus on the experience you are having so that one can live both lives smoothly.
How can one maintain work-life balance?
It’s not an easy task to maintain it while you have so much going on in life. But there are always ways to conquer the problems. Here are some points that should be kept in mind.
• Prioritizing the time, you have to prioritize time like what’s important and urgent, and what’s not. You should know the demand of time. Not everything needs your attention and energy so use it well.
• Aware of your strength and weakness, you can’t be good at everything so you need to concentrate on the task you can do. For having an impression and validation, one shouldn’t put his foot in every boat, otherwise it can sweep you away.
• Spare your time, it matters how much time you give to work or to friends or family or to oneself. You should always spare time for yourself to analyze what’s going on in life, what should be changed or modified, what pesters you or what makes you happy. This helps you to know what to do.
• Stick to a set of works, have a set of work hours and stick to it. You may not have the power to choose the work hours but the power of sticking to it is in your control. It shouldn’t be like you are working until midnight.
• Exercise, busy schedule can wear you out but exercise can rejuvenate you. Ensure exercise is given to your priority. A healthy body means a healthy mind and a healthy mind means functional work.
• Make time for hobbies, do not forget to live your life with what you love. When you follow your hobbies, it makes you feel happy and that keeps you going on in your working life.
But is it possible to maintain work-life balance when demands of life are only expanding?
No one wants to get weary after work and the consequences to be taken out on loved ones or self. It gets harder to maintain work life balance for some workers when their needs are different from others, many responsibilities are on their shoulders and duty to take responsibility for. In spite of working ideal hours, one doesn’t seem to get enough salary then for needs to be fulfilled one chooses to have extra hours of work and headache. Increasing expenses and stagnant salary hinders in achieving work-life balance. A person is not only responsible for work-life balance but the whole organization should take care of it so that workers do enjoy working and the result can be fruitful. Creating such an environment where one employee can share his/her problems and considering their needs are the responsibility of superiors. One should always remember that if one isn’t happy with whatever he is doing then the result won’t be any better. So, it’s the responsibility of everyone to take care of it for better health and mind state, also for growth.
Create a schedule that works for you; think of the best ways to achieve balance between work and personal life. Always clear cut about your priorities in the workplace. Work- life balance isn’t about dividing equal time, instead it’s about flexibility to get things done in professional life while still having time and energy for personal life. One deserves to live happily and peacefully, and to get it; work- life balance plays an important role.