The present day success-conscious age is unwittingly compelling each of us to not only race against time but also do so by balancing between work and life. It’s a Catch-22 situation because neither can be sacrificed for the other.
Given that opportunities coming one’s way are one too many, you have to grab them with both hands to survive in the hugely competitive society.
The busy and successful professionals would convince you that striking a balance between work and life is nearly impossible. But the, this balance is critical for productivity in life.
People quite often ask me how I stay refreshed, active and healthy despite 15 to 16 hours of slogging each day. Living a long life that is unproductive is ill-advised. Instead, one should yearn to enjoy a productive and meaningful life.
It’s a mistaken notion that heavy workload spoils health. On the contrary, more work keeps us fit and healthy. However, there are certain principles one has to adopt.
Your profession often determines the way you live. IT professionals have no other choice but work late into the nights. A journalist like me cannot escape remaining on my toes every time as we do not know which news would break and from where.
Yet, the first principle is to derive pleasure in what you do as something pleasurable would always keep you healthy.
There are many ways to reconcile your personal and professional life. Facilitate your family members to pursue their interests even if you cannot be a partner due to your heavy schedules. Yesterday evening, I got a phone call from my home to join for a film.
It was just not possible as my newspaper work had just begun. I cannot adjust myself at the eleventh hour. I asked them to go for a Hindi movie and we all could watch a Telugu movie later. What clinched the issue was my reassurance to join them for dinner. This small win-win gesture made them happy and left me to my job.
A research published in Harvard Business Review suggests many simple, effective and productive ways of managing work-life even if it's difficult to strike a complete balance. 'Making deliberate choices about which opportunities you’ll pursue and which you’ll decline’.
This is critical as there is no dearth of opportunities for successful professionals. In my early days of teaching career, I used to accept invitations for seminars, selection committees meetings and what have you.
I felt an inner joy at that point of time though they look modest to me in my profession today. Now that I plan newspaper stories and television slots on a minute-to-minute basis, I was forced to give up some engagements that I would never miss in the past.
'Involve your families in work decisions and activities'. This helps you to get the much-needed family support for all that you do. I always tell with great satisfaction that my wife is the first, most ardent and best critic of my television shows and articles in newspapers.
My son once asked me why I was not like other parents, who spend more time with the family. I said, ‘the answer will come one day’. It really happened. When I went to his college as the chief guest, he was overwhelmed.
You have to define and determine which work helps you grow rather than seeking instant benefits. I joined in the university as a teacher in 1988. In 1991, I had to choose between my academic pursuits and as a professional journalist.
Both are of my interest. A doctoral work would get me an academic promotion early. That same year, I got an opportunity to report for an elite English daily The Independent. One could not miss such an opportunity. However, that could affect my research work. Yet, I tried to manage both.
However, the journalistic pursuit was high on my agenda. I still remember what I used to tell my friends and family members then. If I do not work as a reporter, I cannot be an editor one day. I managed to work a balance between the two and could complete my PhD by 1997.
The long-term ambitions and opportunities should decide your choice of options rather than jumping at anything and everything you get. But, never sacrifice something in your hand in the hope of landing up with a prospect that you dream of. Remember, one bird in hand is better than…?
I neglected my BSC in Electronics hoping to get a seat in engineering. Ultimately, I could not get admission in an engineering college but, distanced myself from electronics. No regrets because, after graduation I realised the mistake of neglecting one for the other and went on to join journalism.
Balance is the key whether it pertains to choice of a career option or work and life or between the opportunities. Success flows from carefully calibrated choices. Also remember, golden opportunities are seldom presented but easily lost!
Be in constant touch with your home even if you are bogged down by office-work. It helps your family members to overcome the feeling of missing you. Technology allows you to share their company even if you are not physically present around them.