After a few days of continuous office dinners and parties, I am burdened with the guilt of consuming disproportionate amounts of unhealthy food. I have decided to be on a fruit-based diet for a few days. I want to tilt the balance back.
Several choices in life are at two extremes of a spectrum and there is a constant effort to bring ourselves somewhere in the middle.
Most of these spectrums are self-created, though! By the way, ignoring healthier food options available at those dinners was a decision I made for myself. The health wasn’t amiss at the location of my dinner but in my choices perhaps.
The term Work-Life balance is one of our bigger self-created spectrums. The term itself implicitly suggests that work and life in purity exist at two ends of a scale. Do they?
How did we come to this when our profession, career, institutions were a creation of our own free will? How did we unconsciously allow the creation of such spectrums where work and life became mutually exclusive events? When did we start celebrating Fridays and fearing Mondays? If our work is snatching away our joyfulness and health, there is an immediate case to cut the source of poison altogether and not address it in a constipated manner.
Our lives and livelihoods are intertwined with life happening all the time. Most of these “balancing” ideas are borrowed from the west and further fortified by tag lines like TGIF (Thank God Its Friday), “Saturday night fever”, “Monday blues” etc. They are an attempt to slot our lives into separate compartments. In a “Work from Home” scenario, would this thought-process of labelling work and life lead us to tagging a particular room as work and rest of the house as life?
A little awareness around these planted ideas can save us from a trap. You would agree that our definition of life is NOT a statement of our ambition for “no work”.
I often find myself attending professional affairs and replying to emails from home as much as I find myself settling personal affairs from my office desk or on the move. Boundaries between home and office are not as calcified as we might be assuming and post the rise of covid these boundaries have further blurred. Technology has a) enhanced our productivity to conduct the routine, b) enabled us to operate from places of choice and c) increased our ability to multitask. Technology, globalisation, and advancement have opened multiple career options for us unlike past generation. We have more choices and avenues to bring our passion and work together. It’s upon us to assume more responsibility of navigating our lives to our potential.
Work is a ground to learn, execute, express and experience life and not a prison sentence. Life cannot be absence of work and vice versa. We can focus on creating some balance within our lives by owning up to our choices, removing imaginary boundaries, using technology to our advantage, changing our outlook, and enhancing our experience of daily life by getting more done on all fronts-personal, social, and professional.
Every time you are presented with something as disjoint events, do revisit your beliefs and assumptions. You may be in for a surprise.
Do what you like, like what you do.