Work-life Balance: A Challenge Worth Solving
People in the GSM might have different opinions about different things in general. But the only thing that everybody agrees to is the fact how time really flies by here. We are already coming to close of quarter two and it feels like we have only been here for a month!
If my mantra for the first quarter was “Getting your feet wet” then the mantra for this quarter has definitely been “Work life balance”. All the core courses and the electives for this quarter are highly team centric and hence the expectations from one another will be relatively higher. The course content is surely challenging and the time constraints are surely a tough prospect to manage.
But the most challenging for me this whole quarter is managing my “Work-life balance”. My wife and my 11 month old son joined me this quarter from India and while on one hand I cannot be more happier, on the other hand I grappling with this new challenge of balancing my work at the GSM and my time with my family. And Oh boy this is far from easy!
It almost feels like whatever you have planned for will definitely not go accordingly. The clock seems to be your biggest enemy, always trying to make you a defaulter. Without a better time management you will find yourself not liking the results.
Given the challenges we all face in balancing various demands of work, family and personal life, the following well-grounded approaches might help us coming to terms with it.
Understanding what we Value: – Now is the right time to really understand what our priorities really are. Is it the overall happiness of the family? Immediate career goals? Or something that is in between these. In thinking about work-life balance, it is important to remember the long term perspective. You might have any career you wish for in future but nothing can give you back the first 2 years of nonstop happiness you will have with your children. I am happy I chose the latter.
Choosing with Heart: – In life, we are constantly faced with choices that are good, better, and best. For example, when you have a free evening to spend, consider your choices. A good choice might be to kick back with an episode from House Of Cards, a better choice would be to attend a happy hour invite from fellow classmate but the best choice would be to roam around the neighborhood with your family and having a meaningful conversation. You are the better judge of your happiness.
Time allocation: – Time management has never been my forte. For years, I found myself wasting a tremendous amount of time planning about things that are outside of my control. I always wanted to reduce the amount of external control in my life. By deciding not to worry about things that I cannot control, I was able to better manage my time than many. It sounds so ridiculously simple but putting it to use is the toughest thing I had to do.
Flexible in Application: – With a lot of planning and forethought we almost all the times assume everything will fall according to the plan. But this is the phase of your life where imbalance will be the order of the day. May be it is okay to have a little imbalance at times in your life. We need to be flexible enough to manage life without plans and schedules. This “Managing Ambiguity” is the most critical skill you will ever acquire in a B school. Make sure you are surrounded with people who share same values and priorities as you do to make your time more enjoyable.
Take a load off: – There is this annoyingly smart phrase “If you want something done, give it to the busiest person in the room.” To those people using this phrase, I say, “No Thanks! Stop Calling Us!! We are too busy”. If you are to succeed in balancing home and work, you can’t do it all. You have to be able to prioritize and say No to the non-essentials. This aspect reminds me of Professor Nicole Biggart’s definition of strategy “Strategy is not only about deciding what to do but also about choosing what not to do”. I am glad I applying my knowledge already!