Whether to do overtime or not is a catch 22 situation. On one side is time with your family and on the other, the fear of losing your job. What do you do?
By Vaibhav Datar
It’s his daughter’s birthday and the stage is set for a lovely party in the evening. The father promises to come back early to help with preparations and spend quality time with the family. He is going through a difficult time at office though. His boss is arrogant and the project deadlines are near, with a huge pile of work to be disposed of.
At work, just as he is about to leave, his boss calls him for an urgent team meeting. What should the father do? Does he get into the long meeting or stay away and give priority to his family? Should he work overtime at his office or go home?
I’m sure many of us in corporate life have gone through similar scenarios, where we are faced with a dilemma. Here are few ways, which can help you maintain a work-life balance.
Create boundaries in advance
The mind is a powerful tool. The moment you set a deadline, your mind goes to work and helps you complete your task within the stipulated time. Before starting your work, decide how much time you are going to spend on major activities. Limit your time and see how your mind starts focussing on the task.
Secondly, limit the time spent on non-productive tasks. Identify all such activities and list down the time you generally spend on those. Awareness is progress. It might startle you to discover the amount of time you spend on such tasks. Either drop the activities completely or limit the time you spend on these. Either way, you are letting yourself know that “time is important asset and that you value your time”.
Dropping preconceived notions
We all come with a set of working beliefs. Beliefs are things we chose to believe in. They come from our childhood, from our parents, teachers and friends. As we grow up, we have beliefs around how professionals operate. We observe our surroundings and believe that, “people working overtime are praised more, perform better, generally are in good books and receive higher compensation”.
Drop the unwanted and useless beliefs completely. Simply drop the belief that doing overtime at work comes with a lot of positives. See yourself working efficiently within given time and receiving appreciation and fair compensation.
Value yourself and your time
We tend to undermine our true value. This leads to not valuing our bodies, our minds. We overeat, or do not eat on time, work irregularly at irregular hours, contaminate our minds with negativity and falsehood. If we do not value our time and focus, then who will? Start focusing on yourself now. You are a valuable resource and you have limited time to make an impact. So start caring and taking hold of yourself today.
Plan your day in advance
Start planning your entire day, possibly a night before. Visualise the day in its entirety, seeing yourself going to bed the next day, with your work goals achieved. List two or three major activities and focus on completing them.
An attitudinal shift takes time. But once you start the ball rolling, it can create a huge positive change. You will feel happy, more relaxed, give quality time to your family and feel at home. You will achieve a perfect work-life balance.
(The writer is a mid-life coach and author of Simplify Your Life.)