Being in the dietary supplement industry, I had to attend the 2019 Wellness Event. I mean, who was I to complain? My manager brought three other employees and me for that event, which was held in Frankfurt, Germany. I thought that the event would be boring and filled with geriatric people. Ha! I was mistaken for I saw hotties, mid-level guys, and yeah, fuglies in the gathering. One of them even tried to take a swing at me. Eww. Still, it was a free vacation and in Germany, nonetheless.
Time is money, but knowledge is also power. In the days before the internet, someone wishing to expand his skill set would have to take time away from work or relaxation to attend a course, or gather knowledge the hard way, by working through a book on their own without being able to ask for explanations or knowing how well they really understand the material.
The situation is completely different today: for little more than the cost of a good textbook, anyone can attend a virtual course offered by video, audio and lecture notes. Lecturers are available to answer questions, progress can be checked through assignments and tests, and many courses offer bankable diplomas or academic credits.
A student can do the necessary work on their own time, although the amount of time demanded is no less than in a traditional setting. Most impressively, the number of disciplines covered is simply amazing, and a course on almost anything can be found that requires no academic prerequisites.
Core, Supplemental and Meta Knowledge
An engineer who already understands circuit design might want to know more about how next-generation components work at a molecular level; this would be an example of gaining core knowledge. A lawyer could realize that the scope of the work he takes on can be wider if he also understands accounting; this is what is meant by supplemental knowledge. On the other hand, a manager might want to study practical psychology. This is not part of his main job description, but will give him skills that can help do his work better in a way that’s difficult to quantify. Finally, there is “meta” knowledge, which is not about information as such but concerns the way in which we approach work and learning. Many professionals could benefit from improved memory, better time management or knowing how to handle stress better; all of these are meta-skills.
It is often a very good move professionally to gain a diploma in a field completely separate from what a person is most qualified in. For instance, an accountant may either choose to spend a year and thousands of dollars obtaining an advanced degree in his own field, or he could choose to familiarize himself with something as far out as petroleum geology.
Let’s say he chose the first option: instead of competing with thousands of applicants for any new job, his resume will now land in a pile only a few hundred high. He can command a higher salary, but not dramatically so when compared to the time and effort spent on gaining a master’s degree, and he will probably be expected to work harder, solve more complex problems and take on much more responsibility than before.
On the other hand, spending a few hundred hours on an introductory course in something completely unrelated will not only be much cheaper, but probably mentally easier as well. It will have no impact on his desirability or remuneration as far as his primary function is concerned, but when an opportunity arises requiring knowledge of both fields, the job is his almost automatically. When this is combined with other sought-after traits, such as fluency in a second language or experience in a certain industry, he will literally be the only man for the job.
Anyone who spends a great deal of time behind the wheel actually has heaps of time available to broaden their mind. Even without having to spend time in a classroom, virtual or otherwise, anyone can inform, entertain or educate themselves by iPhone.
Listening through a book takes much longer than reading it, but can be done simultaneously with any activity that requires little attention: jogging, driving or watching sports on TV. Someone may choose to learn more about subjects ranging from business to botany, or choose to relax with a work of fiction. While this might not sound like education, a good story can be as interesting as a conversation, and improves verbal skills like vocabulary.
There are plenty of get rich quick schemes out there, but the only ones who have gotten rich in that way are the con artists who run them. When talking about get happy quick schemes, you could make a similar point about drug dealers.
As far as real success, real wealth and true happiness is concerned, we can basically take it as a given that real work and true commitment form part of the deal. The dilemma is that very few people desire only one solitary thing. You might want your business to succeed, but not at the cost of your marriage failing. You might want to invest a large sum in a property, but doing so will mean giving up the chance to see Europe this year. Almost every choice we make is not between wanting or not wanting something, but about how much we want it relative to other things that will bring us joy.
Ancient myths abound to caution us about the dangers of obsession: Agamemnon literally sacrificed his daughter for a military victory, only to be killed by his wife in revenge. Midas was granted his wish that everything he touched would turn to gold, but he starved to death since all food turned to precious metal before he could eat it. The morals of these stories are not exactly that we should be careful what we wish for – instead, the lesson is that we shouldn’t ignore the other things that are also important to us.
- Schedule Your Time
Numerous entrepreneurs and high performers have succeeded in their chosen path only to have their lives simultaneously fall apart without them noticing. Everyone who has seriously tried it will agree that planning meetings, sales calls and other tasks in advance and assigning a time block to each makes work much more efficient, but it isn’t immediately clear that the same thing applies to striking a balance between productive time, family, hobbies and all the other things a well-rounded, enjoyable life consists of.
One possible approach to this is to simply consider any time not allocated to a specific task as family or relaxation time. This could work, but there will always be that temptation to stay at the office just a little bit longer, or spend just a little more time studying while your spouse is already waiting at the dinner table. Birthdays and anniversaries should receive special attention in your personal calendar.
- Be More Productive
It’s simplistic and unhelpful to assume that having more free time necessarily means doing less work. The work/life balance is not about sacrificing one in favor of the other; the goal is to make room for them both in terms of time and energy. Working smarter instead of harder frees up both for the activities that mean most to your happiness.
How exactly a person can become more productive depends heavily on their individual circumstances. A good starting point would be to take an inventory of time spent on activities versus the actual outcomes that can be expected from them.
- Health Always Comes First
No imaginable lifestyle is worth having if achieving it leaves you a physical wreck. Time spent on good nutrition, exercise and relaxation – mental health is also important – should be seen as an investment, not a waste.
There are few hacks for this aspect of work/life balancing. If your job is causing you so much stress that you are showing physical symptoms such as muscle spasms or indigestion, it is time to either find new ways of dealing with tension, or rethink the value of having such a job.
- When Relaxing, Relax
It can be extremely difficult to leave all thoughts of work behind after 8, 10 or more hours fixating on it, but this is an essential skill to learn. Any time spent worrying about work while at home not only spoils your enjoyment of “me” time, it does nothing to help you solve whatever problems are confronting you. Sleeping on them instead is much more likely to reveal an unexpected solution.
Work life balance is defined as a person’s ability to meet their work and family commitments, as well as other tasks and responsibilities outside of work . There is a widespread interest in this subject especially from big work organizations primarily because it affects all aspects of a worker’s life. Work has become more demanding of time. What’s supposed to be just an 8-hour job can easily turn into a 12-hour grind. For some employees, extra working hours mean extra pay. But these additional work hours are subtracted from personal time. And if this process continues, it will fire back to the employee in the form of physical and mental fatigue; it will create great conflict within the other key areas of his life—family and personal.
Why work-life balance is important?
According to the Australian Institute of Business, there are three reasons why work-life balance is important:
Employee becomes less susceptible to occupational burnouts
Burnouts happen when you feel overwhelmed and cannot meet the demands of the job. The negative effects of a burnout affect all the key areas of the employee’s life. When there is a balance between work and personal life, burnouts can be avoided.
Attention is given to where it’s due
When there is balance between work and home, an employee has better focus to dedicate to. When at work, an employee has greater control on focusing to his tasks. But when at home, he has the same amount of control to focus on family matters.
Employee experiences fewer health problems
When we are overworked, our body gives in to the negative effects of stress and fatigue. Stress and fatigue compromise our immune system which can result to a simple case of flu to a more serious condition such as digestive and respiratory diseases. Work-life balance promotes healthy lifestyles. It leaves us extra time to look after ourselves by exercising, eating well and relaxing.
How do workers benefit from work-life balance?
Nowadays, work organizations implement work-life balance campaigns primarily to increase the productivity of their employees. Flexible working hours allowing employees to come to work at certain hours of the day where they are most productive positively affects not only their daily productivity but also results to improved employee engagement and satisfaction. Work-life balance also reduces absenteeism, medical leave and other health-related expenses.
Work-life Balance Strategies at Work
Companies now offer numerous work-life balance strategies that can be put in place to help the employee achieve a balance between work and personal needs. These are measures for a win-win situation for both the employee and employer.
- Flexible work arrangement – employer and employee agree to a variation from the usual work arrangement.
- Leave schemes – employee can avail various kinds of leave, depending on their specific needs.
- Employee support schemes – these are various kinds of resources that can address the personal needs of an employee so that work will not be affected. Examples of these are eldercare arrangements, child care arrangements, counseling services and many others.
Work-Life Balance Strategies at Home
When we are at work, we are focused on our tasks. Do the same thing when you’re outside of work—be focused on that side of your life. One strategy that a lot of people do is that they use their driving time to get home as a transition period to their personal time. Below are some simple steps that you can take to achieve a healthy balance between work and personal life.
- We may not able to reduce the demands and workload at the office, but during non-office hours, try tuning out whatever office tasks that dance around your head.
- Turn off emails at night and on weekends.
- Engage yourself in after-work activities, like going to the gym, to reduce the stresses encountered during the day.
- Don’t over-commit yourself.
- Don’t feel bad tuning out. Embrace it.