We find it convenient to blame our hectic schedules for not being able to do what we want to. We are aware that tomorrow may never come, yet we promise to get back to the tasks a couple of months or years later and regret about it until then.

Typical of us human beings, I tell you!

Earlier this week, I was at training. While introducing ourselves, our trainer asked us to share what we would do if it was our last day on Earth. I was looking forward to the answers to listen to unfulfilled desires of those around me and to see if anything was worth adding to my bucket list (as if I did not have enough items on them already). One by one, people started opening up. Almost everyone wanted to do the most simplest and the easiest of things you could do any day. Some of them wanted to eat a meal cooked by their family. Some wanted to take a picnic with their close friends. Some wanted to treat themselves to that expensive watch/dress that they had eyed for a long time. One person even said that it would be the happiest day in her life because she would not have to worry about a messy house, undone laundry, managing work and home and would spend the day without worrying about her problems.

We had a winner!

Impressed by our responses, our instructor asked when was the last time we did any of this. Hardly a few responded to her. When she asked the reason, people said they didn’t have time or that their current lifestyle did not allow them to do what they wanted. She said that we had to sort our priorities In life. It made sense.

What’s the point of our life if we don’t get time to do what we like?

Today we place great emphasis on maintaining a good work life balance. The problem comes when we start loving work at the cost of our personal life. Crib all you want about Monday Morning Blues, most of the people I know can’t wait to get to work. Given how our workplaces are evolving and being flexible, sometimes people forget to switch off from work. They end up multitasking with work always going on in the background (I say ban work mail apps on the phone!). Trust me, there is nothing worse than receiving an escalation mail when you’re having a dinner with your spouse (Been there, experienced that – courtesy, my workaholic husband!).

From hating work and makes jokes about it, we’ve come a long way and started loving our work. But we have to ensure other aspects of our lives don’t take a backseat. Balance is the key, my friends!

Here are a few insights I gained from that ice breaker session. I am sharing this not only for you, but also for me to come back to this later when I make the same mistake.

1. Take days off every now and then.

Once, I took a day off because I wanted to see how it would feel to be at home on a regular weekday. I got so many things done, which I could never manage on the weekends. I’d spend time with mom or catch up for lunch with a friend or just spend the day relaxing by myself. It felt so good. This is specially for people who think the can’t afford to take a day off, the reality is you can and work will still continue to function without you.

2. Stop depriving yourself of your happiness.

Yes, we should lead a healthy life. Yes, we should avoid things that have the potential to harm us. While I am no advocate of eating a muffin every day (I wish I could!), give in to your needs occasionally. Have that cupcake, go to that restaurant you’ve wanted to try and make that cheese laden, carb loaded meal if you want and STOP FEELING GUILTY. Just remember to get back to your routine. Also, buy that expensive watch/gadget/dress you’ve always wanted and use it. Don’t save it for some special day that may never come.

3. Take that holiday

Whether it’s the scenic countryside of Europe or the serene getaways closer home, take a break and spend time with yourself or with your loved ones. Don’t wait to turn 60 for that trip. You think you will be able to walk and run and enjoy junk food for every meal when you’re 60? That’s being over-ambitious, I’d say! Take a break from (over) thinking your worries and give the mind some time to breathe and calm down.

4. It’s ok to slack off once in a while.

  • Don’t feel like doing the laundry today? That’s ok.
  • House feels messy? Don’t bother.
  • Want to watch that movie instead of preparing dinner? Never mind.

Remember, no one is going to give you a certificate for being prompt in everything. I agree that it would pile up the work and you will have more work to do later, but it’s ok if you slack off once in a while – remember, you’re a human being and you are allowed to feel lazy and tired. You don’t have to run all the time.

5. Talk to people who mean a lot to you.

Relationships are a tough work. Friends, family, colleagues, people from the past and the present, there are just so many of them to stay in touch with. But remember the ones who were always there for you and reach out to them. You never know if you would get a chance to speak to the person again. It’s ok if others want to win an argument, even if you lose the argument you will still have them by your side.

It’s funny how people think that after they are done with the “current commitments” they will spend time doing what they’ve always wanted to. Alexander Pope was right when he said, ‘Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate.” Everyone assumes that they will lead a long and healthy life and will find time, a couple of years later, to work on their bucket list. Let me pop the bubble right here and right now. You will never find the time, you have to make time for what you need.

As Elvis Presley rightly said, ‘Don’t wait for tomorrow, what if tomorrow never comes?’

Image Courtesy: Pixabay