Virender Kapoor is the former director of Symbiosis Institute of Management and knows a thing or two about balancing your work and life.
And he wants you to know too:
1. Don’t expect your employer to strike that balance
Companies offer several freebies so their employees can perform better.
They will have a gym, a food plaza and pick-up and drop facilities. Occasionally, they will also throw in a vacation to make you feel good.
But know that this is not striking a work-life balance.
These are merely steps that companies take so they can get the most out of you.
Remember, whether you want to strike a good work-life balance is your call. You cannot expect a company to do it for you.
2. Take the middle path
You can either work really hard and make pot loads of money like Hrithik Roshan’s character in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and plan to retire early or you can do everything in moderation and make the most of what life and importantly time has to offer you.
Nothing good comes out of burning yourself out.
Similarly, you also don’t have to live like a monk.
There is always, always a middle path.
Do everything in moderation.
Take small but consistent steps towards your goal.
3. Know that life isn’t all misery
Moksha isn’t something you achieve after you die.
Living balanced life itself is moksha.
Life isn’t always filled with misery. It is how we choose to take it is what matters.
Calming your mind is just as important as exercising your body.
Meditate! Learn to be one with yourself and you will realise how many things are more important than your job.
4. Regiment your life
Sure, you do need to unwind every now and then but it is crucial that you draw out a plan for the day and try, as much as possible, to stick to it.
I have never quite appreciated the idea of ‘flexi timings’.
To me, it means I am working 24/7!
This isn’t new knowledge but there is nothing wrong in turning off your mobile phone every once in a while!
We often like to idly check our emails and messages because in our heads we think there is always an emergency that needs to be attended to.
Learn to switch off — your phone and yourself — from work.
Make gadgets your slave not the other way around.
6. Get a funny bone
Rather than blindly forwarding that Santa-Banta joke you got on Whatsapp, pick up the phone and narrate it to someone.
Share a joke; reach out to people; laugh at yourself.
There’s nothing quite like humour that can help you get through in life.
7. Scale down a little
Comparison has never made anyone happy.
Don’t increase your needs to such an extent that you cannot keep up with them.
Be prepared to notch down a bit.
I am not saying don’t have ambitions but know where to draw the line.
Don’t engage in material things.
Einstein’s desk fetches millions not because it was expensive when he bought it but because of the work Einstein did on it!
You may buy a chair worth 50,000 rupees but if you are an idiot, you will continue to be an idiot even when you’re on that chair.
8. Take a break
Remember that no one is indispensable.
It is only we that believe ourselves to be.
Learn to say ‘No!’
And learn the art of doing nothing.
When you are on a holiday, don’t carry your laptop. Turn off your phone.
And if you must, designate just a few minutes during each day to attend to your work needs.
9. Don’t be in a rush to achieve things
Remember, if a cake takes two hours to bake, it will take 120 minutes.
Increase the temperature and cake will burn.
Yes you can cut corners to some extent but don’t try to achieve something in a year that you know will take three years.
10. Get organised
It is amazing how much you can achieve by simply being organised:
You are able to achieve more; you end up being more efficient and you are better able to make the most of your time.
And what is work-life balance but just a better way to manage your time, isn’t it?
11. Don’t become a perfectionist
It is one thing if you are, let’s say, working at ISRO or creating a lifesaving drug.
But when it comes to everyday tasks you don’t have to kill yourself trying to achieve perfection.
In most cases it tends to make you more miserable and less efficient.
Learn to let go.
12. Take up a job you like or love the job you have
There is nothing such as a perfect job.
You cannot have everything you wish for.
Rather than whining about the negatives focus on the positives.
Don’t jump jobs for the heck of it.
The sooner you come to terms with the fact that the very idea of a ‘perfect job’ doesn’t exist the easier it will be for you to work your way around it and find a way to balance between your job and your life.