Once there was a Seth (Rich Man). One night the Seth and Sethani (his wife) were standing on the terrace of their house and they saw their neighbor, a Brahmin, playing with his kids and seemed very happy with his kids. While Brahmin was busy playing with his kids, Sethani told the Seth that their neighbors are poor still they are happier than them, they spend more time together. Upon listening to his wife he told his wife that their neighbors are happier because they are not under trap of 99. His wife asked what he means by the trap of 99. He asked his wife to wait for some time and she will come to know. Calling it a day then, they went to sleep.
Next day when the Brahmin‘s wife woke up and opened the door of their house, she saw a small bag lying in front of the door. She looked around but couldn’t locate anyone. So she picked up the bag and brought it inside and called her husband. Upon opening the bag they saw gold coins in it. Curiously they counted the coins and found it has 99 coins. Brahmin was very happy to see the money and thanked God. But his wife said, “Had there been one more coin in it, they could have had 100 coins”. Upon seeing disappointment on his wife’s face, Brahmin told her not to worry as he’ll work hard and will earn one more gold coin and make it 100. And his wife told him that they spoiled their precious time and should have tried and made some money.
And from that day onwards they started putting more hard work in their work to earn gold coin and they forgot playing with their kids and stopped laughing.
Now Sethani understood the reason behind the change in Brahmin’s family as they were trapped by 99. The ‘trap of 99’ is nothing but a phenomena of craving for more, which defines the human nature of not being satisfied and happy with what they have but to invite stress and tensions in the chase for what all they do not have.
This is an age old story which tells us not to be trapped by 99 and teaches to enjoy our lives with whatever we have. But what we see around is most of us are running in an endless rat race. People are so busy and held up in fulfilling their aspirations that they forget to give enough time to their families which results into more stressed lives, low productivity and a feeling of incomplete life. Take a moment and think about the increasing trend in divorce cases, children going against their parents, alcohol problem, drug abuse, suicides and what not. Society is victimized by this imbalance because families are becoming nuclear, parents cannot cope up with their work, kids are over burdened to perform and everybody needs space. What a vicious circle it is – of growth and development!
Cost of living is so high these days that people hardly get enough money so they try to work harder to earn more and compromise on their personal life and aspirations. After all, man is a social animal.
However, the trap doesn’t deny the hard-working or chase for achievement. It just suggests that a balance is required. One should not ignore his work; neither shall one stop dreaming/aspiring. But all this should not be done at the cost of his/her family.
So what do we do in such a situation? Strike a BALANCE.
Balancing work with life is a matter of grave concern for the companies as well as their employees. This kind of imbalance is resulting into low productivity and high attrition.
It is unfortunate to see that most of the companies remain ignorant on the long term cost involved to create a work-life balanced environment. They fail to realize that this thus leads to loss of talent, performance and ultimately revenues.
Here are some simple ways on how to strike balance between family and work life:
- Prioritize: Do not plan too many things together and don’t treat everything as top priority. Finish urgent tasks first and then take important ones. The important tasks should be finished before they become urgent. Check what can wait.
- Have a Support System-Delegate: One cannot do everything by himself. Try and have a support system among family, colleagues and friends, who are willing to help if something unexpected happens. Learn to delegate and help others, if they are in need. This will not only help to finish the task within time limits but will also create bonding within the team. But delegate only if you are not disturbing the other person’s schedule.
- SAY ‘YES’ to ‘NO’: You must know – what you can take up in your stride and what not. If you have a list to abide by, you don’t have to agree to everything and to everyone. Say No to something which is beyond your physical & mental stamina because neither you’ll be able to do justice with the task and nor with yourself. Through this you would also avoid unnecessary negativity and pressure.
- Set SMART Goals: Set Specific >> Measurable >> Action Oriented>> Realistic >>Time Bound Goals. Break your goals in smaller goals. Develop plan to reach those goals on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis and keep a tab on your progress. If things don’t change and the strategy which you have formulated is not working, alter your strategy and make it in sync with the resources you have. Alteration in your strategy should not change your goals. It’s just like taking some new route to reach your destination. Don’t forget to share your goals with your family and make them partner to your goals.
- Create Work Life Happiness: Don’t work to earn only money. Work to create happiness, towards self satisfaction and the money will follow. Love your work and live your life.
- Leave Work at Work: Technology is to make our lives easier and not to rule them. You can connect to anyone anytime but at the same time it has removed all the boundaries between personal & professional lives. Draw a line to separate work and personal life. If your company offers to work from home, ensure it’s not 24X7. Set rules, define timelines, share the same with your team and adhere to the rules.
- Compulsory Holiday: Take at least one holiday for 3 to 5 days in a 6 months duration. These will not only help rejuvenate your energies but will also raise your motivation levels. Use these holidays for recreational activities or explore new things.
- Don’t Sacrifice One for Other: Each day is different and comes with different challenges. It is always good to anticipate challenges and be prepared from them. Define and list things you’ll never compromise, it could be as simple as yoga, 6-8 hours sleep, exercise, teaching your kids, attending parent teaching meeting, a walk with your partner etc.
- Celebrate Each Failure and Every Success: A single failure makes people lose heart and they stop working on their goals or change them. They forget that each failure teaches us something and help us getting closer to our goals. Do not lose heart instead cherish failures because failures become the stepping stones of success. Celebrate each success and achievement, small or big it could be. Celebrate with your family, friends, and colleagues. Applaud yourself; appreciate yourself on how well you handled a particular situation. Celebrations and applaud will save you from arrogance.
- Exercise Daily: For a sound mind we need to have healthy body. Exercise daily as exercise throws negativity out of our mind and we tend to enjoy life more. Also take 10 minutes break every two hours and stretch your body.
Try these steps and let me know in comments if it could help you in creating a better Work-Life Balance.