“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”
Genesis 2:2, King James Bible
Prior to the technological advancement and digitization of the world, in the early 1800s, business owners and unions came to an understanding to give a day off to the workers. Broadly, this became the popular ‘weekend’. Since the work was manual without any means of network channels, there was a clear demarcation between work and life.
Times have changed dramatically.
The coinage of the phrase ‘work-life balance’ has emerged recently and has taken on a new meaning with the recent technological changes. The workforce is connected 24*7 through smartphones, remote working technology and even on holiday, people find it hard to ‘switch off’ and genuinely rest. The expectations of being ‘on-call’ at all times, has made it extremely challenging to balance life outside work.
To understand the critical issue, we need to address it in a sociological context and scientific analysis. Broadly, Maslow’s principles on work v/s life pyramid explain the phenomena in a hierarchical order. The base of the pyramid focusses on the rudimentary physiological needs such as food, water, and shelter. The next two rungs discuss the safety aspects and the need to be loved while belonging to a group. Then the pyramid moves on to issues of self-esteem, cognitive needs, aesthetic needs and finally, at the top of the pyramid, there is self-actualization or achieving your full potential as a human being.
Basic requirements of food, shelter, safety, and security are provided through an income provided by work. Employment also leads to aggregation, while doing well at work boosts self-esteem.
The top of the pyramid is reflective of our need to balance work with life, where self-actualization and achieving one’s full potential is imperative. Time beyond work is essential to reach this latent need to have a full life inclusive of creativity, insights, and intuition.
There is a need to spend time with family and involve in community activities. To make a situation better and balance the fulcrum, a strategic planner is the need of the hour.
Randi Zuckerberg – the sibling of Facebook’s founder – is quoted to say that ‘one can pick only three things out of work, sleep, family, friends, and fitness. It is important to know what really matters to you and to prioritize it. Define the parameters of success in each area you choose and consciously distribute time among multiple goals. Learn to say ‘no’ to people and activities that distract you from your priorities’.
This maxim is the closest we come to prioritizing our life parameters.
First, you need to know where you are, then where you want to be. It’s of prime importance to set goals and envision a clear portrait of your life. From there on, you can move and have a vibrant and structured path as you self-actualize and reach the zenith of work-life balance.
Remember.. it is possible. But you have to want to do it.