Work Life balance is a must. Live your life before it is too late

2 years ago   -   Posted by Rafal Muchowicz in Development


Today I read an article about another Zurich CEO committing suicide and it got me thinking that on the surface his wealthy, powerful high-quality life was not so perfect at all.

How can anyone let their life to be taken and ruled by someone or something else?!  Pressure, presentism, working weekends becomes a twisted norm. Will it bring you back lost moments, memories you could have made or health you will lose for constantly stressing out without time to relax and enjoy fruits of your labor?  It makes me incredibly angry when I read articles about increasing productivity by breaking up your sleep at night and waking up at 4 am or entrepreneurs not taking time off for the last 20 years. Why do we allow this nonsense to be even published? What about talking about effects of sleep deprivation?  

Life balance and personal happiness do not depend on earning more money and being successful at work or in business. Other things can have a much bigger impact on our well-being. What would you do if I tell you, you have only 6 months to live? Would you really be thinking about finishing projects you initiated at work or more about spending time with loved ones? Why some people start to live their life only when something bad happens to them. What one needs to remember is the higher you go in corporate ladder the lonelier you are and short-lived your career can be. I have observed hundreds of executives working for companies with blood, sweat, and tears for 20 years and more just to lose their jobs in seconds. I have seen other directors staying at work late, stressing out and eventually dying, yes dying to leave their families behind.

I am writing this emotional article as it annoys me greatly if people sacrifice everything to work only. Yes, work and career are important. They are extremely important to me, but my kids and family are important too. We love to be appreciated, rewarded for great achievements, being surrounded by like-minded people. Work is a social interaction and it is important, but it shouldn’t become the only element in your life to nurture.

I am not here to preach how you need to live but to make you reflect and ask yourself if you are happy. If not,  it is not too late to change that. If your life is balanced not only you will live a happier life but also become more productive and appreciated employee.

I clearly remember words my first manager in the UK told me.When I moved to the UK I initially was staying at work till 7.30pm every day for the first 3 weeks of my probationary period. After 3 weeks my manager called me to an office and said “Rafal do you have problem pls? Why do you stay every day till 7.30pm? It shows to me that either you have an issue with efficiency or workload, either way, we would have to address it”. She said, “I need you to go home and get rest so that recharged you can be more efficient the next day”. Do you know what was the real reason I was staying late?- I wanted to show how committed I am to work and my new company. I never had any issue with efficiency or workload not in this not in other companies. Next day I stopped staying late and did only when I really really had to.

I know, in busy corporate jobs it’s sometimes not possible to finish everything during your regular work hours but if you can you should at least try. A Happy employee is a productive employee. In my life, I saw how people allowed their work to hijack and destroy their private life. We were working crazy hours during my project in the US. We had a couple of mandatory weekends, not leaving before 9 pm and taking work for weekends with deliverables to be handed back Monday morning. One person from our team was from a different state and was relocated only for the purpose of this project. In order to progress she left her home and new beau on the east coast. As she was not able to go back to her home town often you can probably imagine what happened later to her relationship …..At the end of the project, she became withdrawn and depressed. Would you like this happen to you? Luckily there is a way to stop that? Create trust, positive brand and finally set boundaries with work colleagues and your boss. Without trust, no one will allow you to work flexibly yet if you have this opportunity it will increase the quality of your life dramatically. What I have observed is that when you stay late every day it becomes a norm and expectation, when you stay occasionally everyone will notice, appreciate and on some occasions even thank you. Time management is a crucial aspect of life balance and personal well-being. Manage your time always like you do before going on vacation.

It was a summer evening, we decided to go for a team night out to the local theatre. I was sitting next to my director. Despite being at the brilliant comedy she was checking and responding emails constantly barely noticing the performance. Couldn’t that wait few hours? Do you really have to check phone on every vibration and respond straight away? The way we use mobile phones and emails significantly influence our living and working environment - and specifically external pressures and demands on us. Manage your environment - don't let your environment - external factors like mobile phones and emails - manage you. Other people's demands on our emotional and time resources are a significant aspect of life balance. If you do not manage these demands they will leave you with no resource for yourself, your loved ones, your other passions in life, and the changes you want to make in order to pursue them

Our age and 'life-stage' particularly affect what makes us happy and balanced, There is no single model that's right for everyone, and no single approach is right for anyone for their whole life. As we go through our lives, new challenges and experiences change the relative importance and mixture of these factors. And then ask yourself if and how you might want to change them...If you are not happy then take time to think and plan how to change things for the better. What makes your own life balanced and happy?

Answer this question and list 10 things that “make your heart sing?”. What you will probably notice is that they cost nothing. For me it was spending time with my kids before they go to bed, spending time with my wife and on weekend going out to parks and for casual walks not necessarily to fancy restaurants. 

Children often play a significant role in influencing career choices. The professional path you establish as a childless person may vastly change once you have children. You may opt to look for employment with flexible or telecommuting options, or a position that allows you to job-share. If you are a single parent or the sole supporter of your children, you may be led to have several jobs, a job with good insurance coverage or a single high-earning position with limited travel requirements. If you provide in-home care to an elderly or ailing relative, you may be attracted to positions that offer eldercare reimbursement, allow work-from-home options, or that have adult daycare as a benefit of employment. Continually changing family obligations can subtly or dramatically affect your professional choices throughout your career.

What I constantly tell my clients is that life is about wonderful experiences and not money. Yes, we need money to live the way we want and fulfill our dreams. They a means to live we want but they should never become the ultimate goal. It is how you want to live that matters not how much you have.

One of the wonderful and simple exercises that can help anyone in figuring out how to balance out your life is a “Wheel of life”.

On the circle above you have sections that refer to Career, Love, Health, Family, Social life etc.  Your task is to assess how satisfied you are with each of those life sections on a scale 1-10. The higher score the better. Once you assess you link points on the scale. The result should be the perfectly balanced wheel and not a wobbly one. If one of the life parts is taking over and other is suffering means you need to balance those out. You then reflect how to balance your life and identify strategies to implement and also to improve each of those sections so that you get 10 everywhere but remember to keep it balanced at all times.

My younger college told me once that if you want to succeed at work you have to develop a relationship with your work, colleagues, bosses and nurture them just like with your partner. It is so true yet remember work even though important is only one aspect of your life just like on the wheel above. Remember to nurture all of them to enjoy true fulfillment and happiness.

Live your life with no regrets and if you would like to talk about balancing your life, you know how to find me.

Raf.

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There is a notion that one's character is reflected by their work ethic. A person who over extends themselves in work, used to be perceived as someone who is not afraid of work, who is self-sufficient and maybe even noble. These are all great qualities to have, but times have changed and our character is not solely based on what we do for a living anymore. Could this belief been passed down to us from the Industrial age?

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