In our rush "to get it all done" at work and at home, it's easy to forget that by doing so our stress level escalates and our productivity plummets. Stress is the antithesis of work life balance. While we all need a certain amount of stress to motivate us and help us perform at our best, the key to managing stress lies in that one magic word: balance.
When workers are balanced and happy, they are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are more likely to stay in their jobs. Thus it is important to create the right mixture of work life balance because without this any career goals or aspirations you have set will eventually fall flat due to your mind/ body's inability to keep up. Work life balance does not mean equal balance. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Learning to create appropriate work life balance can help reduce stress, which in turn can help you identify which goals are most important to you.
So how do we Find Balance?
We got in touch with a number of people and asked them how they juggle work, manage relationships, and family responsibilities, and yet manage to squeeze in time for their other interests in their hectic schedules. Here are their inputs:
• "I exercise to de-stress, in whichever part of the globe I am in".
• "I play online chess for at least 2 hours whenever possible".
• "I get off office transport a few km away from office and walk to the office; I also get off at a park on my way back and take a walk around before leaving for home".
• "I am part of a theatre group which meets at 6 when work is not yet over. So I go for the rehearsal and then come back to the office and finish up my work".
• "I go to a dance class in the evening and straight to work for the night shift - I change and shower at the office".
• "Taking a quick walk post lunch around the office campus is relaxing".
• "I usually unwind by going home and playing with my dog".
• "I meet up with a group of friends - once a month for a weekend lunch date. I am a part of 3 different groups so I meet each group once in 2 months. We generally go out to eat, trying out new restaurants and just catch up with one another on our personal and professional lives".
• "I carry my kindle everywhere I go, it\s light and can fit into one's pocket and can store as many books I want. I read on my way to work or during breaks".
• "Meditation helps me unwind or prepare for a stressful day ahead".
• "Trying to solve crossword with my daughter or playing kaleidoscope".
• "When I am wired up I do breathing exercises to clear my thoughts and meditate. My metro ride home also allows me to do this every day".
• "I sketch wherever and whenever possible, whether I am at home or at the airport waiting to catch a flight or while waiting for my meal".
• "I use the office facilities like the gym thrice a week. I either go in an hour early or work out for an hour any time during the day".
• "Gardening is especially therapeutic- even if it's just a bunch of pots in my apartment".
• "Sometimes as things start getting more and more difficult, I usually tell myself that everything can wait, and I need a break. So, I pamper myself, either by eating good food, getting a massage, going to the parlor, taking a hot shower or dipping my feet in warm water and listen to good music".
• "Sundays are spent with family either at home or we head outside for a meal or movie".
• "I take a coffee break at work for at least 10 minutes and chat with my colleagues".
• "My work involves a lot of traveling so I always keep my swimming costume in my suitcase and manage to complete a couple of laps whenever I can".
• "I play a game of golf every Sunday with the guys and have lunch with the family at the local club".
• "Going on short breaks with my friends or family whenever I can, even if it's just for a day".
• "Catching up on sleep".
Whether for health, happiness or long term well being, maintaining an appropriate work life balance should be a priority for everyone. Managing both your personal and professional lives requires some effort and planning, but the rewards are worth it.