Emily is toiling hard as a project manager in a new start-up company that she has recently joined. She had hoped the startups are fresh starts and will offer her spare time to look after her three-year-old, unlike her previous employer – a big corporate giant. But, the new venture is also ever demanding, and her dreams of finding a right balance between her work and life have collapsed yet again. She returns home with the same exhausted feeling. Nothing has changed for her.
Emily’s story is no different from any of us. She may have a baby to look after; we may have some other needs. Some dream of following their passion and some hope of a happy family time. To find the balance is quite tricky as you struggle to keep up with the stressful demands of your work and home.
The Origin of the Problem:
It starts when you are trying to find a great divide between your work and life. If you are trying to do so, you are inadvertently doing a distinct split and separating the Work and Life as two different entities.
What happens if you force yourself into thinking about a concept of “Work” versus “Life.” Juxtaposing them, makes the two modes compete against each other. You are henceforth forced to choose one over the other. The gain for one naturally becomes the loss of the other.
Interestingly, we start to frame ‘Work” as a necessary evil. We draw an impression that when we are working, we are not living. Hence, work becomes the synonym of struggle and misery. Associating negativity with work makes us believe that this suffering has sucked the happiness and enjoyment of living our lives. Thus, the weight of happy expectations shifts to the “Life” side making it unrealistic and heavy. We get more drawn towards the “life” mode and are kill ourselves on the “work” side.
So, like Emily, we seek to balance the two by looking out for a change from our present job. We expect that the new one will be enjoyable and will offer a better balance between the two. But, a job is a job. Its demons will surface again in no time. You will soon realize that every position has strings attached to it and it is a mirage which disappears when we encounter them. The see-saw of the Work and Life is the same everywhere.
How to overcome the problem:
The answer to this question is tweaking our mindset. We attach these two things to negativity and positivity.
Work is negative and hence what we do to earn our living is a negative thing. So the when we switch our Work mode button ON, we are in a negative zone. It is how we compensate our negatives and positives.
It is a very harmful thing to have in one’s mind. Our work efficiency cannot flourish under a negative mindset. The performance will dip, and the negativity will manifest itself in depression, insecurity, and irritation. Leaning on these negative holdings will create more unhappiness, and we will start to hate our work even more.
Conversely, if we try to switch our negativity to positivity in the work mode, the balance swings to the left thus bringing our life mode down as shown below:
You have obviously undervalued your life aspects if you been a workaholic. You have compromised on pursuing a passion, relationships or rejoicing with your friends. Unfortunately, switching between the two modes don’t offer a solution making one to suffer over the other. If the Life mode is switched to negativity, our family life, relationships and health suffer. It is like a two-sided sword ready to tear us apart.
Now, if you are an evolved person, you may encounter a blissful positivity on both the sides and your ideal life should look like this:
You are a rare species if you have achieved this and you shouldn’t waste any more time reading this article. If you are like the others, read on…
The solution to this problem is to demolish the binary switch of work and life. The cure to this misbalanced curse is to stop allocating the negatives or positives to these different modes. Labeling the two consciously with unhappiness and enjoyment stops the two from flowing smoothly into our lives.
To find the solution to ask this one question to yourself: What is my WHY?
Why am I doing what I am doing at work and home? Find the answers to unify the self by being more self-aware. Who am I and what do I care the most?
Retrospect your work life, your relationships, your passions and hobbies, your getaways and check if they are in alignment or not. Replace the concept of Work-Life-Balance with Work-Life-Alignment.
You will unravel some interesting facts:
- Relook and draw out the positive things that reflect yourself in your workplace. You are selected for the job depending on your skills and talent. Your employers have seen some spark which you undermine. Revive those little seeds and sprinkle them in your work. If you are a creative person, manifest it in your work and shimmer.
- Figure out the little things you value at work and practice it in your life. If you take time out in your workplace to joke with your colleagues, find that short time away from the kitchen or television at home and share with your spouse and kids. Similarly, do the otherwise. If you are a friendly person in your life, befriend your colleagues to practice that value. Improve your communication and unify the two entities.
- Consciously enhance and enrich your life on both the sides. Accept that negatives will prevail on both the sides. Find creative ways to dissipate them slowly and try to replace them with positives. Apply your work talents to solve domestic challenges or find life skills to overcome work issues.
Crucially, get over the curse called “Work-Life Balance” as no such term exists for a productive and happy life. No On/Off buttons to smile and frown. Always work towards things you truly value. These positives will never drain you wherever you are and allow you to roll through any situation smoothly. The more practical Work and Life should look like this:
Create your blueprint and introduce the concept of ‘alignment’ to transform your inner being to empower your life. Always strive to identify the negative aspects and overcome them with the right attitude of aligning your values to the cause. In fact what you achieved by straining yourself at work could have been more productive had you aligned it with your life mode.
You wouldn’t know how much it would have enriched your life if you had aligned both. You will have a better fulfilling life if it is optimized with values and positivity. Then unlike Emily, you don’t have to look for another job.