Friday, May 09, 2014

The HumBug called Work/Life Balance

The idea of work-life balance is nothing but an illusion. A mirage put in to the minds of the over ambitious and overworked professionals who want to "have it all". I somehow miss seeing what work-life balance is all about? Have you ever heard of family-life balance or, eat-life balance or, play-life balance? No, right? Because it is all a part of life. Just the way "work" is. Work takes up a lot of our adult age. Our entire school and college life was meant for the very fact of getting a job. As an adult, our work usually takes a priority over the rest. And why shouldn't it? You need to be at it if you want to secure your family. A future for your kids, security to your spouse and let's face it, self respect. Work confirms our dream and becomes a part of our core identity. Added to our career-driven lives and today's mobile technology, our work priorities take a toll over our personal life. When this happens, professionals begin putting their relationships, mental and physical health and overall happiness at risk.

Technology aids is skewing our priorities. Unknowingly, we hand over precious power to alerts and notifications. A distractions ironically set up to ensure we don't miss a thing. Our phones are set up to get notifications from office email, personal emails, facebook, twitter, linkedIn, instagram, blogs, weather alert, shopping alerts and the list is proportionate to the number of apps on our handheld devices. While the alerts I really should be bothered about, is my son's attics.

How do we really know our priorities have gone awry? Is it at the point where the urgency to react to something is disproportionate to its priority? Although, technology enables every notification or, alert seem urgent, technology is not the true culprit. I would not blame it all on technology. I would hold our 'relationship with technology' guilty of the crime of throwing us off balance.

Do you miss the gym because you feel compelled to reply to an email first? Does your child ask you to step away from Facebook? Do unread emails cause you stress even after a 12-hour workday? Do you check your phone at dinner? Are emails the first thing you check in the morning? These are all signs that you have an imbalanced relationship with technology.

How I found my balance?

I was addicted to checking my inbox even before I got out of bed in the morning. I fooled myself saying I would just glance through it but, it always ended up in me working a minimum 30 mins right there using my phone. Rehabilitation was simple. I stopped having my cell phone by my bedside. Problem solved! Wake up, get the weather updates by standing in the balcony, get updated with the latest happening with TIO enjoying a cup of tea.

I jotted down my most important personal goals. My boy, husband, exercise, bible and happiness in what gives me my monthly salary. Now I work in sync to achieve my goals. I give them the necessary attention they deserve. At times something less important, but louder is bound to take their place. But that is okay. Also, when these goals of mine need technology, I sure use it. It is just that I am no more a slave to them. Technology no more uses me. Instead, I use technology now.

I have been hearing about how hobbies help. It's high time I puts it to practice. And I don't care if it takes me 30 minutes of waking up early to do that. But yes! My piano has been cleared of all the years of dust that has clothed it since ancient of times and it relaxes me to indescribable joys of loosing myself to the melodies my fingers create. Why? I even use technology on my way to work to learn a key notes!

These are my ways. What's yours? Happy to hear how you manage your "want it all" ambition and learn from you, what work-life balance means to you. 

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