It is About the Balance

By Christina Kim - May 06, 2015

Work can be overwhelming sometimes or perhaps all the time for some of us who never seem to have enough time during the day that work can just continue until the late hours of the night.
The 24 hours in a day is just a number when it comes to work, and it is a pretty insufficient amount of time even for those who are often encumbered by the never ending deadlines looming near and the continuous piling of work by the hour. It can be just daunting and snapping the life out of those who are faced with such situation.
I can speak for myself as well, having been through (and still am in) work situations where the daily routine is almost similar to those of firemen put on the spot to put out fires which just started from nowhere. Fire fighting mode can just kick one into emergency response mode; not to mention the after effects/toll on one’s well-being, having gone through a highly stressful condition.
Work just seems to be the center of it all; day in and out, and it is as though it is the only reason we wake up every morning.
Well, technically true…or partially.

Then there’s life.
What do you mean by Life?
For some, it seems unheard of, for work has assimilated so perfectly into their lives that it is life itself in their minds. Working through the week is nothing unusual or out of the ordinary, for it is what their bodies and minds have been trained to be attuned to.
In case you (or they) have forgotten, there is truly something called Life, and it is that part where work is not any part of it and is the routine one gets into when one is not at work.
That is, supposed to be the center of it all, and not to be pushed aside as though it does not exist, at all.

We can all say that it is easy to just draw that clear line between work and life.
Everyone knows how to differentiate work and life, just like it is a task to sort the red and the green apples in different baskets.
It is elementary in theory, and it is highly unlikely anyone posted this question could even mess it up.
It is definitely not rocket science.
Work is what we do within that 9 hours of the day which we are designated to; or rather, paid to attend to by the companies who practically supported our financial status. Anything after or out of that allocated 9 hours is all about life.
Easy as ABC.

It should be, but often many also forgot, work is also part of life.
Life is not just that part outside of work, it is, keyword, the center of it all.
The nucleus of our very existence and the very reason we are breathing and living today.
The very testimony to us being here is defined as life.

It is never hard to separate work and life, of course, though there are times when the lines get blurred as well.
I applaud those who stick to their working hours, on a strictly basis; perhaps with an exception once in a while when there are requirements to work beyond the clock out hours.
For those who do not, and on a regular basis; work around the clock, it is time to look at the values of life and the purpose of work being the dominant part in their lives.

I am not judging; after all, I did (or do) belong to the latter category of people.
Working around the clock did not seem daunting, and was even accepted as part of my daily life.
It was inevitable at times, or even most of the time, simply because I wanted to complete everything on time or even ahead of time.
It was like a need to just do everything at a go, and to just be ahead of myself (not others).
It was like that since school days, so why should it be any different?

It sounds like a normal part of life, but it should not and must not be.
Work should never be dominating or take over our lives. Period.
It is as easy as it was earlier defined; just draw that line clearly.

Now, I am not telling you to drop everything off at 5 o’ clock sharp just because you have a life despite having that urgent deadline tomorrow at 8 o’ clock in the morning.
Nor am I telling you to watch the clock tick every single second and let off the confetti when it is time to leave the office.
No, the key is all about the balance.
Balance is the word.

Work and life can simply be balanced with the right amount of attention and effort, to create that term we are often told “Work Life Balance”
It is a notion often preached by multinational corporations and working organizations everywhere and even emphasized through mass media.
Everyone should adopt Work Life Balance.
The keyword is just balance.

There is no need to leave office on the dot like it is a requirement but it is always recommended.
Balancing your work and life means you set apart time to enjoy life while getting your job done.
It sounds easy yet complicated, but really, it just needs that right amount of practice to get the formula right.
Again, I can speak for myself.
Balance is not going to throw your work into chaos and make you seem like a social animal with no sense of responsibility.
In fact, done the right way, being one who can strike that perfect balance would even increase your productivity and efficiency both ways; at work and in life.
Working long hours do not mean you are more efficient or getting more things done; rather, it just means you are inefficient and your working methods are ineffective.
When you slug through late hours and work long hours every single day, you feel exhausted and burnt out quickly.
Fatigue seeps in and soon you will be miserable and unmotivated when it comes to work matters.
Work suddenly becomes a chore and you start dreading the time you have to get out of bed and go to work. You start wishing for holidays, and you are depleted of energy.
How could that, in any way, guarantee better productivity in the long run?
Weekends become the time to sleep in; to make up for all that hours you have wasted at work throughout the week with the average 3-4 hours of sleep each night.
There is simply no life, and you are constantly drained of energy.
Health will be affected and your relationships or even social life, may be jeopardized and reduced to non-existence.

On the other hand, leaving work on time and making sure you dedicate time to party and just enjoy life is also not going to be a hundred percent hit in the bull’s eye.
If you are always looking forward to your social activities and even use your working hours to coordinate your after work gatherings, it will impact your work performance and trust me, your boss and peers can tell that you are out of focus. You are just not going to get anywhere up the ladder or pursue further career advancement when you do not even pay that attention to the few hours you are paid to work.
Remember, the company paid you to do your work.
You owe the company just that.
It is an agreement between you and the company. You cannot deny that company of that.

Balance is making sure that there is that right amount of attention to both work and life and never letting either out of sight.
It takes time and practice to get this right.
Dedicate your time at work rightfully, and enjoy yourself when it is time to leave work behind you.
Work late when you have to, but do not make this into a long run routine.
Learn to say No to yourself, and sometimes even to your management when you have to.
It is all about self-management and time management to reach that balance.
Do not complain if you have too much work, just manage or tell your boss when you think you cannot handle it. Discuss tactfully and learn to delegate or work in a team.
It is not as easy as it sounds, I know, especially when you may be the only one in the organization running the show.
Then it is all about your own self management and how you manage your time effectively.

We can never get all our work done.
I am sure you have learnt that by now.
Things come, and we can never foresee all of their coming; it is just like natural disasters.
We can never tell when an earthquake is about to strike or when that long sleeping volcano suddenly erupts.
We can plan and predict, but when it comes, it could still take us completely by shock.
That is just an analogy.
Balancing life and work can make that difference in your life, and your well-being on a whole.
It will even make you a happier person.
Take that break when you need to.
Say No when you do not want to do that assignment and negotiate the deadlines with your clients.
It is never others who force you to abandon life.
Sometimes you just have to make a choice.

The balancing act starts with that pole in your hand.

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