Me Work-Life Balance as a Combination of Perfectly Optimum Career and Perfectly Optimum Home Life: Narrative

I am working in this industry for the last 6 years, the most frequent words that I heard in these years are “Deployment”, “Moderation” and “Work-Life Balance”. Today I am going to share my version of the “Balance”.

So, what is work-life balance? It is a combination of Perfectly Optimum Career and Perfectly Optimum Home Life. But, wait. I spent 10 hours a day in the office excluding 2 hours of transit time and 8 hours of sleep. That gives me 4 hours of Optimum Home Life and don’t forget these 4 hours consist of breakfast, dinner and the time taken for personal grooming. Is balance even possible statistically? or it’s just a myth?

As a general principle, no machine can be optimally efficient in more than one thing. A robot that needs to sing and cook will be less efficient than two distinct machines, each of which can focus exclusively on a single task. The more limited the goals, the higher one’s efficiency. Now, unlike the machines, our brains are not designed or evolved to be maximally efficient at any one thing.

This amazing cognitive and emotional mechanism is a profound generalist that comes moderately with well-equipped for a huge range of possible activities: to write a novel, bring up a child, drive very fast on the highways, sit in high rise office writing codes, marry, plot an assassination, go into politics, stay single or open a small business.

Now, the price we pay for being generalists is that we’ll be less good at any one of the many activities we perform than someone who did only one thing their whole life. We might not be the very best at inflating party balloons, the house will be a bit dirty, we might be late for the meeting, we’ll neither have to be perfect and patient nor be an interesting dinner companion, we’ll mess up in the demo again.

There might be quite depressing moments late at night as we look back across the day, but before we get too sad, we should realize that our less than optimal performance is down to one very understandable thing: that we’ve chosen breadth and variety over total focus and narrow perfection.

Unfortunately, our society has set up an absurd idea that it is possible to do many things and that too with perfection. That’s why we hear so much talk about an elusive thing called: “Work-Life Balance”. This is a mad idea. Work-life balance is impossible because everything worth we fight for unbalances our life.

We’re not going to be the ideal domestic chef, child carer, and Team Lead at once. If we’re strung out across multiple roles, all will suffer, but that’s okay. That you’re doing too much and none of it without mistakes isn’t a sign that your life has gone wrong, that you’ve opted for imperfect variety over flawless focus.

But remember that the path you have chosen, you shouldn’t get frustrated, try to find the positive reasons in your unbalanced imperfect life. We all are humans; we all get monotonous at some point of time in our life, there may or may not be promotion this year, someone may get your credit at work. But that doesn’t mean that your life has gone blunt. If you keep focusing on the negative side, you may end up at the bottom of the hole.

You must focus on the laugh you shared with your parents that day, think about the gossip you skipped, be kind, generous and tolerant, plug yourself for some Netflix or IPL and the best thing, do meditate. Do whatever that makes you feel alive, zestful, energized and keeps your spirit high and remember to be always on the bright side of life.

Now, let me give you an example of my ideal balance day that I aspire to, wake up well rested after a good sleep. Read the newspaper, have good tea and go for a jog. Have breakfast with my family. Drive the kids to school on the way to the office. Do three hours of work. Play a sport with a friend at lunchtime. Do another three hours of work. Meet some friends in the pub for an early evening drink.

Drive home for dinner with my family, meditate for half an hour. Walk a mile before sleep. Go to bed. Now, think about how often you will have that day? We need to be realistic. You can’t do it all in one day. We need to elongate the time frame upon which we judge the balance in our lives, without falling into the trap of the “I’ll have a life when I retire, when my wife has divorced me, my health is failing, I’ve got no friends or interest left.” A day is too short; “after I retire” is too long. There’s got to be a middle way.

But how we approach it? we have only 4 hours of the day with us. Clearly, our life is being dominated by our work, most of us struggling with the relationships that we have. How many of you think that there is nothing left in your life apart from the work? And to sort this situation how many of you decided to join the gym? But, ever realized by joining the gym you will be the same, maybe just a bit fit.

However, there are other parts of life, there is the intellectual side; there is the emotional side; there is the spiritual side. And to be balanced I believe we have to attend to all of those areas – not just doing 50 pushups. Now, that can be daunting, because you might say, “I haven’t got time to get fit and you want me to go to the temple and call my mother”. I understand, I truly understand how that can be daunting.

But an incident that happened a couple of years ago that gave me a new perspective. My brother called me up in the office on a very busy day and told me to bring a cake for my mother as it was her birthday, but, to my great grief I had completely forgotten about the day and I didn’t even wish her. That day I left work an hour early, came home with a cake and I and my brother prepared a simple dinner for the family.

We celebrated her birthday with just a cake and dinner. At night when I went to say goodnight to my parent’s room my mother told me with a teary eye and a lot of pride, that “this is been the best day of my life, ever”. I hadn’t done anything; I haven’t taken her to a restaurant or a trip she is asking me for the past couple of years.

Now, my point is that small things matter. Being balanced doesn’t mean dramatic upheaval in your life. With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the equality of your life.

Moreover, I think it can transform society. Because if enough people do it, we can change society’s definition of success away from the imprudently simplistic notion that the person with the most money wins when he dies, to the more thoughtful and balanced definition of what a well-lived life looks like.

And lastly, those who know me personally like to hang around with me, because I have developed the habit in past years to be happy and calm in every situation. I deal with every challenge with a smile. I try to be kind to as many people as possible. I don’t interact with negative people, I travel whenever I get time, I blog about my travels too, that you can find out on my website.

I try to make everyone happy around me so that I don’t get any sorrow or negative vibe from them. I start my day not thinking of how long and boring it is going to be, I think about the new things I am going to learn today. The new ideas that I can add to my mischievous artifacts for later use.

So, in a nutshell, I would like to let you know that you stand a position with a 2-way diversion. One, go with the flow taking bits and pieces of every part of your life and balancing every aspect of it with a bright smile. Or chase your dream, the dream that doesn’t let you sleep.

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