Where is the X? perhaps it can be found in understanding the scenarios around the whole concept of work – life balance. It is important to isolate the two key phrases in our effort to demystify the union between the two words. In doing this, it is critical that we attempt the following question for the sake of wisdom:
Question – is the concept/perception of work – life balance given or created?
There is a common thought pattern among employees; the average individual within the context of work holds the employer responsible for the perceived imbalance as it concerns their work & life. Hence the notion “my employer doesn’t give me a breather for life”. Can this be said to be the absolute truth? – caveat, this piece is not to hold brief for any party within the cycle of who shapes and ensures balance. The intent is simply to purge and help find direction for a desired balance.
Let’s do a bit of mental activity. Work revolves around two parties. One provides work while the other does the work. One provides the tools and essentials for getting work done while the other is still responsible for managing time, resources and putting in effort to get the work done. In this instance, who among these parties should be smart about getting work done? Stay with me. We will be back to tying the two ends of the argument.
Life, the second phrase is all about living it. The question here is, whose choice is it on how to live life within the chronological possibilities available to man? One can guess the univocal response to be the individual or the employee and not the employer. So, in this instance, can it be rightly maintained that the employee plays a bigger role in finding the balance between work and life? Does this balance ultimately hinge on smart work and prioritization?
Let’s explore these scenarios:
Delete a text in Microsoft Word
You – Highlight the text and click on control X.
Your Colleague – Highlight the text, right click on the mouse, scroll down to select cut, click on cut.
It took you two steps to complete a task while it took your colleague four steps to complete same task. Where your colleague approaches work with multiples of un-smartness in completing tasks, then such colleague might get saddled with a lot that really might not be a lot. In this instance, your colleague might have to show up every Saturday to complete outstanding task. The Life aspect starts suffering. Think!
Cook, clean the shop floor, and arrange the store before closing for the day.
Employee A – Starts the cooking process and ensured that cooking utensils were dumped in the sink without being attended to while scrolling through Instagram and TikTok at every interval. Moved on to cleaning the shop floor with the intent of washing the cooking utensils later. While cleaning the shop floor, took time to watch some skits and YouTube videos. Moved on to the store when it was some minutes to the closing time. The task of washing the cooking utensils was still pending…
Employee B – Started the cooking and was cleaning the cooking utensils as the cooking went on. Moved on to cleaning the shop floor and progressed in good time to the store to arrange the store as instructed. Finished on time and was right on time to close for the day and go engage in own life activities.
For employees like Employee A, will the possibility of balancing work with life be seamless? What intervention can the employer put in place to help such individual achieve a desired balancing of the two?
Or better still, you complain of the absence of time to get some personal things done just because of workload. Fair enough, however, you can start by writing on a sheet of paper what that thing is and also write on another sheet of paper that amount of money you would hate to lose or misplace.
Now, what if you are told that the amount of money you have written will be tripled and given to you the moment you complete that personal thing, would you find time out of the perceived busyness to complete it? You sure will because you would have filtered the noise, the distractions that you know bring about the imbalance observed between work and life. Suddenly there is some degree of importance and urgency attached.
Ultimately, tying the two ends, both parties, the employer and the employee are active participants in the subject. However, so far, from your perspective, who is more in the driving seat in ensuring a balance or integration of work and life?
Whatever your decision is, seek smartness and prioritize.
Wishing you a great year!