You should balance your work (career, professional goals, etc.) and life (family, health, self-improvement, etc.).
In order to lead a happy, successful, and meaningful life, there should be a balance between “work” and “life”.
But, the real question is, are you balancing it in the right way?
When geeks hear the term “Work-Life Balance”, they try to run away as fast as they can.
I beleive the term “Work-Life Balance” itself causes confusion, and let people take a wrong approach to this subject. The term “Work-Life Balance” gives you a feeling that work and life are separate entities that needs to be balanced to lead a happy life.
We geeks love technology, and we spend countless hours (sometimes days) on fine-tuning a peice of code that already works, to make it better. We love new bleeding edge technologies, and we are always trying to stay on top of it, by reading about it, playing with it, and figuring out how to implement it in a real-life scenario. There are lot of Linux distributions available. Learning and playing around with them is time consuming, but it is lot of fun.
In the process of enjoying technology, many tends to give less importance to the personal life. Geeks are very enthusiastic when they are in front of a computer, than when they are with their family members. Talking a walk in the park with kids or loved ones are the perfect time for them to catch-up on their work emails, or check the news, or check the twitter/facebook updates on their phones.
Geeks are smart. So, obviously they know that they are not focussing as much as they should on their personal life. But, the pleasure they get from the technology is extremely compelling that they typically come up with some vague logic to justify their lack of attention to personal life. But at some point in their life, they realize that they didn’t pay enough attention to their personal life, which typically happens when they have to leave their current job for some reason, or when their health is affected.
In my opinion there are 3 models to work-life balance.
1. Traditional Work-Life Balance Model
Any time someone says work-life balance, they are typically referring to this model. The following are some of the characteristics of this model:
- Clear boundaries are defined between work and life.
- They view work as a separate entity from personal life.
- This is your typical 9-5 work model.
- People in this model, don’t do any work related things once they are out of office.
- They don’t like to talk about the details of their work to anybody outside.
- They lack passion in the work they do.
- They treat work as a means to earn money and nothing more.
- Most of them in this model, hate the work they do. They’ll complain about the work a lot, and are always looking for a new job that pays more. But, when they get a new job that pays them more, the same cycle continues. There is no end to this.
- They are typically stressed at work, and relaxed when they are away from work.
- They’ll show more enthusiasm on Friday evening than on Monday morning.
- In my opinion, this is not a good model, as work is used only as a leverage to earn money and nothing more.
2. Work-Life Balance Model (with No Balance)
Most of the geeks and enterpruners fall in this category. The following are some of the characteristics of this model:
- They don’t view work as a separate entity.
- The boundaries of work extends into their personal life.
- They work really long hours.
- They always bring work to home. “I’m working tonight (or this weekend)” is a typical excuses for them to avoid all personal events.
- When they are forced to go out and participate in any social activities, most of the time, they are on their phone checking emails, or on phone talking with someone at work.
- They love the technology aspect of their work (or the business aspect). They are very much obsessed with it, and typically end-up spending lot more time that necessary to complete a project.
- They typically don’t care about how much they get paid. They are just happy doing the job that they do. Sometimes they are even afraid to look for new job with a fear that they might not get to do the kinds of fun things that they are doing in the current job.
- They are typically relaxed when they are at work. When they are outside work, they are mostly thinking about the work project that needs to be completed.
- In my opinion, this is not a good model, as this gives priority and focus only to work, at the expense of personal life.
3. Work-Life Balance Model (with a Purpose)
In my opinion, this is a good model, and we should strive to get to this model. The following are some of the characteristics of this model:
- People in model understand that life is a single entity, and anything we experience (work and personal) is all part of this single life entity.
- They have identified and defined a clear purpose and meaning to their life. Their purpose in life is typically aligned with the kind of work they do professionally that brings both money and happiness.
- Family, friends, work, and nature are all part of their life that they enjoy and love.
- They are extremely passionte about their work. If they don’t love what they do, they’ll not stop until they find a job that they love to do.
- They’ll bring work to home if necessary, and at the same time, they’ll also take a break from work if necessary.
- Their family and friends are supportive of their work, and they’ll encourage to make a difference.
- They always seem to find a way to spend quality time with their family, friends, and community.
- They always take a positive attitude towards everything in life.
- They don’t go to work just because it pays money, and gives them the opportunity to work on the technology (or the business) that they love. They go to work, because the work they do is aligned with the clear purpose they have defined for themselves in their life.
- They love to do the kind of work that makes a positive impact on others life. They strive to make a meaningful contribution to the world in their own small way.
- When you are working in this model, you won’t have to think that you have to balance your work and life. It is already balanced and aligned with your life purpose.
Give some serious thought about which model you are currently in. If you are not in the third model mentioned above, start working from where you stand to reach to that model. This will bring joy in your life and the life of those around you.