By Dr Sarwat Imran ACHIEVING WORK LIFE BALANCE
So essentially it’s all a balancing act – how working women, specially working moms, juggle their daily life around to create not only balance in their work and home life, but also in maintaining their health.
Creating this fine balance between work-family-health is a struggle that has been going on for decades. It’s no small feat…. as most of us who are constantly fighting to establish this, know. Ask a room full of professional women and working moms and they will almost collectively nod in unison, when we mention that at times it’s like being whirled around in a washing machine. And yet, we somehow survive the craziness of our lives and not only survive but come out smiling, confident and ready to take on the world.
Right after college, starting out in our professional lives, we are full of the notion that we are different; we will conquer it all – we not only wish but firmly believe that we can “do it all” – have the perfect career, perfect family and be in perfect shape… but alas life rarely follows our well laid plans and reality can be very different.
Let’s start debunking numerous myths… and do away with the “perfect” checklist and timelines of how our lives should be. There is no magic pill to achieve perfect equilibrium in work-family-health – but there are some rules we can enforce and strategies we can follow to not only retain our sanity but to actually enjoy our lives. These can be applied to women working out of homes or offices or both.
- Don’t try to be “unrealistically perfect”.
The pressures we put on ourselves to overachieve and be the perfect professional, perfect wife, perfect mother, and in perfect body shape. It is all-unnecessary. Is it important to just do it or is it imperative that we try to do it “perfectly”. In trying to overachieve, we end up not enjoying any aspect of our life and feeling drained and exhausted.Always prioritize:Before imposing unrealistic deadlines on yourself, always ask do I have to do this – right now? Not doing the groceries at exactly the same time every day or every week is NOT life threatening. Not getting your clothes on time from the tailor is NOT worth getting Hypertension over. There are enough things to worry about, do not unduly stress yourself.
- Do NOT Overthink.
When it comes to managing work-life balance, we tend to overthink every situation. This hurts our productivity in both places. If you didn’t get the last printout just right, don’t fret come in a bit earlier the next day and get it done. If your child didn’t do well in one test, don’t work yourself into a frenzy and go crazy, doesn’t mean either the child or you are failures. If you couldn’t do your workout, for any reason, even if it’s because you didn’t feel like it, it’s not the end of the world. Remember you are working out for you, not because you want to compete in the Olympics.
- Don’t be a Hero.
It’s ok to ask for help and assistance. You don’t have to do everything yourself – specially if people are offering to help. Be it at work or home or even at the gym (if someone is correcting your posture, moves etc.) And you know what – another reality check, You DON’T know it all – there is maybe an easier way to do what you need to, so be open to people and not resentful.
- Establish Boundaries.
Learn to draw a line between work and home. Learn to switch off from both. When at work, we don’t need to keep thinking about every small detail at home… some things can wait till you get home. Similarly when at home, remember this is your time, your family time and work can wait. No need to be answering emails and text messages while watching a movie or playing with the kids. While working out, you can neither solve corporate affairs nor tell the maids what to do with the laundry; all of it can wait. Learn to effectively establish boundaries and stick to them.
- Me Time.
Take care of yourself. If you are fit, healthy, and relaxed you can best tend to the needs of your workplace and family. Take time out for YOU… workout, meditate, read, watch movies, do Nothing. Do what makes you happy.
- No Guilt
You’re doing the best you can to balance all aspects of your life, so give yourself a break, don’t get caught in the constant rut of “I should” be doing this, I should’ve done that”. Believe in yourself and have faith that you are doing as much as you can.
- Don’t Compare Yourself To Others.
This is one of the most important points to achieving a balance in life, we should never ever compare ourselves to others. Each of us is fighting our own battles and who are we to judge if someone’s life is better than ours. We all face our personal struggles, our own hardships. Never judge.
- Redefine “Superwoman, Supermom And Superfit”
Tell yourself that you are one cool woman and nobody can generalize or set the standards of what defines a woman as “Super” anything. There is no “one-size fits all” theory that is acceptable for all women. So to all working mother’s – You are Super in your own right accept it and be happy in this knowledge.
- Reboot And Recharge.
Take short breaks to get away from the daily mundane routine, reboot and recharge. These breaks help us recover from daily stressful situations and relationships. Be at your most productive when you return from a break, both at work and at home.