The ‘Life-Work’ Balance!

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with a few like-minded bloggers. We were brainstorming about a new initiative which we had in mind. At one point we happened to discuss about Work-Life balance (You know when you’re talking with a group of bloggers, you end up talking about everything but the intended topic). People spoke about how work-life balance was critical and even if the scales tilted slightly to any one side inadvertently, things might not be smooth.


At this point, a senior in the group asked all of us to define what work-life balance was. We knew things were bound to get interesting and waited for people to give their own views.

Of the many versions of the definitions that we heard from others, the most striking one was given by the person who asked all of us the question, 

‘Life-Work Balance : When you can talk about yourself for 5 minutes without mentioning what you do at work, you can conclude that you maintain a very healthy balance.

He realized that some of them present were not very convinced and offered to explain. He said that most of us spend 9 hours on an average at work. Since our lives are centered on our jobs, when we introduce ourselves we normally tend to speak only about the work that we do. But if we can find time to do something that we are passionate about or something that simply interests us, to the extent that we have something concrete to talk about, then we can conclude that we balance things pretty well.

Later that day when I was recounting the events of the evening, I realized how much the words were true. If we can find another world that can co-exist along with our routine (at the same time not compromising on the quality of work that we are paid for!), it gives us something to look forward to. I realized how the senior had mentioned life-work balance and not work-life balance. Essentially isn’t work just a part of our lives? I truly believe that Life always comes before work.

To test my balance, I assumed I was introducing myself to someone and in my mind I tried to give an answer. An answer that wouldn’t speak a word about my work. And guess what, I managed to come up with a fairly decent answer about what I do (which, if I had spoken to someone, would take a few minutes) :-). 

So I got my answer. You should probably ask yourself that question too. Or if you have a different definition of ‘Life-Work’ balance, do share it 🙂

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

30 thoughts on “The ‘Life-Work’ Balance!

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  1. I have noticed that when we have a 'life' beyond work, our work becomes more productive, even if the available time is less. So I am forcing myself to take a break for two days every week, and not work on those two days!

    Destination Infinity

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  2. Normally when I meet someone new, and usually it's always the parents of one of my sons' friends, I don't mention what I do at all unless specifically asked, so I guess that exonerates me! 😀

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  3. Hey
    Greetings to you!!!!!!

    Our daily routine imposes so much stress that maintaining a balance is not possible many times, certain aspects of our lives are compromised constantly.
    Time management and discipline is important, on which i have started working upon.

    Regards
    Swati

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  4. Absolutely right. I had two interviews before I got my first and only job in my Company in USA. I got through the first round because of the answer I gave for her question – Have you supervised Americans? I replied with a question – Why do you ask this question. Are they very difficult to supervise?

    My final interview was with the Executive Vice President. He spoke to me for 40 minutes. At the end, he said the job is mine and gave me his reason for selecting me – You are the only one who did not bring up the work or the company or your qualification or resume in our 40 minute conversation. Instead, we talked about various subjects/topics around the world.

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  5. @ Destination Infinity

    True. When we have an equally good life outside work, the troubles at work dont seem to bother us as much. Plus, the more happy we are outside work, the more we learn to be happy with work too 🙂

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  6. Well said KK. It's mostly because of people who want their team mates to work extra hours (of course they wouldn't want to work extra hours coz they're only bothered about their work life balance) that the balance goes haywire.

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  7. Hi Swati

    Welcome to my blog 🙂

    I totally understand that. I dont say spend exactly 9 hours at work and spend the rest of the time doing something else. All I'm trying to say is we need to make use of the available time and do the best.

    Also, do you know how addictive checking work-mail is when we're not working? Thats the kind of stuff I'm talking about. And yes, it requires a lot of discipline.

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  8. Oh that's very interesting. Not only are we telling that that we are aware of what's going on in general, but that we are capable of carrying a conversation which need not necessarily be about our qualifications or areas of expertise.

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  9. Very true, Ash!
    Life-Work balance is important.
    After all, “life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans” & while we are “working”.
    May life not pass us by without us not being aware…

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  10. Interesting answer to the point.
    Ask me, i can explain what all is going in World Cup these days. I try to keep work separate and these days enjoying my remaining time at home with my wife and cricket.

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  11. I will not talk about my work unless you specifically ask me about it. Sometimes, when people ask, “What do you do?” I tell them, “I try to be a good human being.” It always brings a smile and leads to interesting conversations. I guess because I took a break from work when I had my kids, I have truly appreciated 'job' as being a part of life. I won't even call it work because I do so much work out of which 'paid work' is just a small part of it. 🙂 Interesting topic and something to ponder on.

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  12. I Agree. that defines it.
    However it will take me hours to introduce myself and what i do without brining physics in between. Just realized how overpowered we are with our work. 😦

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  13. That's a very interesting activity. I guess we live in a world where 'what we do' defines us. But things change, I guess. From a corporate slave, I am now a work-from-home father who primarily writes. These days I just introduce myself as a person without focussing too much about what I do. Not because I'm ashamed of it, but merely because it doesn't come up. But of course, when we meet new people, they often end up asking : “What do you do?” within the first five minutes .

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  14. I am not in agreement with the view that if one one cannot converse for a short duration without talking about his work ,then he is not living life fully.Most of us are strong in our fields and we tend to talk comfortably in such areas when we get a chance or lead.But to talk only on such work related area without the ability to converse generally on various subjects shows a lack of wide interest but does not signify the person is not enjoying life..May be he is not as sociable with his narrow interest as one with wider areas of knowlege.

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  15. Tell me about it Rachna! When people ask me, I give generic answers and I've had the most interesting conversations because of that! And again, I love what I do, but I feel sometimes I have to draw a line so that I dont spend more time in one at the cost of spending time in another!

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  16. Yes people feel good about sharing their thoughts on something they are experts at. All I'm saying is this need not always be about work. Let's just leave the socially awkward and introverts out of this context. People do have interest right? Some love talking about current affairs, some love watching movies, some love reading. So if someone were to ask us what we did, we could very well say I love spending time doing what I enjoy doing. I'm just talking about these little things.

    Thanks for the interesting point of view KP Sir 🙂

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  17. You speak of your work not only because of spend your major time at it but also because people don't put value of what do otherwise do in life. I guess, it is pretty normal. For me life-work balance is when you can be at one place without affecting other. When you are with friends, have fun and try to relax, not think about your project work.

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  18. Exactly Saru. A few people who read this (at work) asked me if I was having issues at work. I should say that I love the work that I'm doing. But I am able to balance life and work because, as you said, I wouldn't think of work when I'm enjoying with friends/family, nor would I waste time planning my weekend, when I'm busy at work.

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