Work-Life Balance: Scam Or Reality?

Coursera defines work-life balance as the ratio of how much time you spend at work to how much time you spend on your personal life. For most of us, our work is our life. Get up, go to work, come back home, sleep. The cycle continues. Get up, go to work, come back home. sleep. Before you realize it, 60 is knocking on your door. The kids (should you have any) are already in university, having missed out on their school visiting days and important milestones. Your friends, Bob and Alice are celebrating their 15 year anniversary of a wedding you didn't attend because you had to stand in for the I.T guy who couldn't miss out on his vacation. To top it all off, you have not seen your siblings for more an hour in the past 2 years. I think you get my point. Now don't get me wrong, it is okay to dedicate yourself to your life's work or your life's purpose. However, is that a viable excuse to miss out on the precious moments of life? Now I am barely into my 20s, so you might be wondering; What does this boy know about work-life balance? His only priorities are him and himself. That is true, I don't have a-lot to worry about. And that is a good thing. But I have experienced side effects of an unbalanced work-life. Staying up during the ungodly hours of 3am and 4am just to meet a target, experiencing burnout towards the holidays, even losing friends just to put in an extra hour. Safe to say, that was totally my fault. Luckily, I am young thus, I have the advantage of time. I have the time to learn how to finish my tasks on time or even before time and dedicate more of my precious hours to personal commitments like reading that book I have been putting off for the past year, get into shape and call up my friends for a hot cup of coffee. Preferably, a cappuccino. Keep in mind, this isn't a guide on how to achieve work-life balance, but a young man's perspective on what you might be doing right or wrong. A good work-life balance will have you looking happier, healthier and more energetic. You have time for your friends, family and even for yourself. You might be working between the hours of 9 to 5 but in those hours you have accomplished significantly more than the man who clocks in 14 hours daily. You will feel more fulfilled and in turn, your life will have more meaning. On the other hand, a terrible work-life balance will have you more stressed, experiencing burnout, losing weight, constant headaches and trips to the doctors. You will miss out on developments in your family and amongst your friends. You will be fleeting through life from one moment to the next like a zombie - a corporate zombie. And over time, your performance at work will take a hit and tank. Before you know it, some young college graduate gunning for our job has been hired and you, FIRED!!!!! Most work places will tell you that those people who put in that work, who do not use their leave or sick days, or those who come to work at 5 in the morning and leave at 9 in the night are destined for promotions, for bigger paychecks, for the corner office. Is it toxic and manipulative? You decide. So whenever you are about to undertake more work or are about to throw your life out of balance for the sake of a 12% pay rise or for your colleagues to respect and admire you, ask yourself these 2 questions: At what cost? For what does it benefit a man to gain all the riches in the world, but lose his soul?

Wainaina

jesse.wainaina@3qs.co.ke

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