We are often inundated with articles and advice in myriad forms about work life balance. How we need to rein in our ambitions when they make us overstretch ourselves and compromise relationships. How material success can be hollow, especially if we tend to leave behind the simple joys of living. Then, there is of course that whole sub set of can women do and have it all their personal and professional lives. It is complicated.
Here is what I have learnt. Don’t get stuck with the need to arrive at a work life balance. That is one elusive goal. Moreover, our work lives are really intricately connected with everything else that we do. Switching on and off is even more difficult when faced with the constant temptation to check updates on our smartphones. And then there are times when you have to put family first even if it compromises deadlines and career opportunities. After all, these are the people you come home to. Can’t let them down all the time!
So, here are a few things that I am going to try to do.
I am going to try and get better at saying no to more work than I can handle. Yes, it may jeopardize professional relationships and affect future prospects. But it is better to do less and quality work rather than die trying to do too much. In my case, I may actually die what with the rich and impressive family medical history of hypertension, high blood pressure, cardiac trouble, diabetes and even the big C – Cancer! Besides, isn’t it more worthwhile to spend our time doing work that is exciting and meaningful…well…as far as possible? Oh… and every message alert is not necessarily an emergency. Checking messages and emails can wait, especially on weekends.
Also, I will try to do the things that I have wanted to do. Read more. Travel more. Watch plays. Listen to more music. (Maybe, I will finally figure out what world music means!) Catch up with old friends. And yes, get to know my family better. Life is a strange, ephemeral thing. As a biography title puts it succinctly – No one gets out of here alive. So, we need to make the most of it. I think I am growing into a philosophical confluence of nihilism and carpe diem. Well, we humans are adaptive if nothing else!
Now let’s see if I can live up to this.