Last year, Jack Ma, Alibaba founder and one of the world’s richest e-commerce entrepreneurs made a controversial statement about finding the right balance in your life and work. He had said, “I personally think that being able to work 996 is a huge blessing,” Now, by ‘being able to work 996’, he meant working from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. for 6 days in a week. Obviously, it backfired on him with comments opposing this statement started to pile up all across the internet. But he got a kind of subtle support when Tesla founder, Ellon Musk tweeted, tweeted that “Nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.”
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Why Work-Life Balance is Important?
Well, cause for anything in this world to be sustainable, the equilibrium has to be set right. I have often heard people saying, “Oh, how I wish I had more time in hand then I would travel the world or I would join a gym or play the guitar!”
This holds true for me as well. Even I wish sometimes that there were 48 hrs. in a day so that I could manage things at my front better. However, the fact of the matter is that we all have just the same time in hand. The seconds, minutes & hours from our lives that are continuously ticking away and the worst part is that there’s no replay button.
The only positive takeaway that I could infer from the article was Jack Ma’s next statement that seemed more like a quick first-aid on the damaging former one. As a part of the clarification statement he had added, “If you find a job you like, the 996 problem does not exist; if you’re not passionate about it, every minute of going to work is a torment.”
This makes sense to me because one needs to enjoy whatever work he or she is pursuing. Actually, this is the first and foremost pre-requisite of a happy, successful, contended & balanced life. Discontentment makes being successful an encumbering task. One starts to put extra time & efforts towards achieving in one aspect of life while other facets of life are cut shortened. The balance hence is shaken.
On the contrary, nature works in a certain discipline which goes on like a chain reaction. For striking a near-perfect work-life balance one needs to be disciplined and committed to comply with the same. Forming a daily routine can be a great start towards finding the right balance in your life. However, the discipline should not be troubling to the extent that it pushes one to act like a robot or a machine.
There are three key aspects of finding the right balance between work & life; they are identification, prioritizing & focus.
I read one of the articles of renowned Indian mythology author, Devdutt Patnaik, which mentioned about time being elastic in nature. According to him, when one focusses on work then the time contracts while when the focus is lost, the same time is expanded. Focus helps in improving efficiency manifolds thereby reducing the time needed to finish the work. Identification & prioritizing, on the other hand, helps in narrowing down to the aspects of one’s life that need attention.
Here are some ways of finding the right balance in your life and work :
- Enjoy whatever work you are doing whether it is personal or professional.
- Stop multitasking as it shifts the focus.
- Take regular breaks for relaxing & unwind.
- Chalk down your own unique routine. Do not try to copy a work-life balance time schedule of another person.
- It is ok to ask for help.
- Learn to say ‘No’.
- Fix a deadline for yourself.
- Set small achievable targets and then build upon them.
- Be ready to make changes in your lifestyle and habits.
- Cut down activities that are time-wasting.
- Limit the use of gadgets like mobile phones, laptops etc.
- Send a note to self that perfection is not needed every time.
- Most importantly, find time for the people in your life.
The crux of all of the above is that one needs to have an attitude that every priority of yours can be managed in the same amount of time and not let time manage you. There’s a famous quote by Dolly Parton about work-life balance which goes like,
“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
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