Trying to achieve work-life balance? Here’s some advice

Excerpt from Swami Mukundananda’s new book ‘Golden Rules for Living Your Best Life’

GN Bureau | November 17, 2022


#career   #religion   #Spirituality   #personal development  
Swami Mukundananda (Pic courtesy: jkyog.org)
Swami Mukundananda (Pic courtesy: jkyog.org)

The untapped potential of every individual is the biggest tragedy of the human race. The primary reason for this is our lack of awareness of the processes, tools and techniques needed to unleash it. While life is a do-it-yourself project, there is no user rule book that teaches us to deal with the complexities of human life. Would it not be nice if there were a manual for life as well?

Swami Mukundananda’s ‘Golden Rules for Living Your Best Life’ (published by Rupa this month) not only bridges this gap, but also equips you with the proper knowledge needed to effectively navigate your life. Learning it will unleash your abilities and unlock your potential to thrive in your endeavours.

In this book, Swami Mukundananda, who earned his degrees from the IIT-D and IIM-C but chose to enter monkhood as a disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj, brings together a hundred gems of wisdom to constantly elevate the quality of your life in five key areas—spiritual and emotional wellness, good health and well-being, harmony in relationships, professional fulfilment and financial abundance. If you can effectively manage these five dimensions of your life, all the other aspects are automatically transformed. This, in turn, will enable you to become the best you can be, today and every day, and win the game of life.
 
‘Golden Rules for Living Your Best Life’ teaches us how to integrate spirituality in our daily life subtly and in a positive manner. It is a ‘how-to’ guide with answers to everyday issues that we all struggle with, such as anger management, forgiveness, choosing a career, saving for retirement, eating healthy, exercising, and so on. Using a blend of the Vedic scriptures and modern-day research, Swamiji explains how to be successful at work and peaceful at home.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

How to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Gone are the days when people would punch in for work at 9 a.m. and out at 5 p.m. Today, work takes precedence over much of our lives. Long hours, increasing demands, working across time zones and the pressure to stay connected with technology have become the norm.

But they come at a heavy cost. We invest more time and effort at work at the expense of other aspects of our life such as physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. The fine line between work and home life has been obliterated in much of society, disrupting work-life balance.

However, such a life is lopsided and devoid of quality. It is neither sustainable in the long run, nor satisfying to your soul. If you wish to lead a quality life, you must learn to find some way to balance its important aspects.

*What is work-life balance?* While it would be ideal to spend equal time at work and home, such a notion is rarely the case. The right balance for you will vary based on your context—whether you are single, married, have children, are starting out in your career, nearing retirement, etc. There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all solution that applies to everyone.

Balance simply implies that all aspects of your life are in check—work satisfaction, familial happiness, physical fitness and internal growth. If not, then disharmony at work and home becomes the cause of major discontentment, discord in relationships and ill health.

Hence, to be happy and more productive, you must learn to achieve equilibrium between work and life. Let us first look at how we can attain balance at work.

*Prioritize your responsibilities. It is essential to have your workplace priorities in order. Figure out which responsibilities cannot be compromised and which are flexible. What are your most important commitments at work, for yourself as well as for the organization? Which tasks require excellence and perfection, and which merely need to be finished? Having clarity on these answers will help you utilize your time and effort in alignment with your priorities.

*Plan your day. You can divide your workday in various ways. It should include activities for the day, the time you end your work and the evening ahead. You can allocate action items to complete in the first-half of your workday before lunch, and others for the second half. Then do your best to leave work by the ‘end time’ that you or the organization has set. The latter part of your day is now free to spend with family and engage in activities that will add to your life quality.

*Establish boundaries. To be productive both at work and home, you must set fair and realistic limits on what you will and will not do. Equally important is to communicate these to your managers, colleagues and family. For instance, commit to working late only in emergency situations or where deadlines are being compromised.

Similarly, have a set time at home when you do not respond to work-related emails or phone calls. For example, do not pick up the phone while having dinner with the family or going for an evening walk with your spouse. Further, evaluate your family schedule before saying ‘Yes’ to additional responsibilities.

You can also open up to your boss and ask for support and flexible working arrangements to maintain work-life balance. These could include job-sharing, back-up support of team members or working from home. I have dealt with this topic in detail in the chapter ‘Establish Boundaries in Relationships’.

With these work-related techniques under your belt, you can now look at some personal self-care tools to achieve work-life harmony.

*Unplug. Office work must not be allowed to encroach upon your weekends, evening time with family or temple satsang. To unplug from office, do not respond to work-related emails and phone calls during ‘off ’ hours. By all means, be present for a crisis but make it an exception.

*Schedule your personal activities. While it is important to leave work at work, one of the ways to accomplish it is by scheduling your personal pursuits. It is said that what gets scheduled, gets done. So, if vacations and family time are scheduled, there is a greater chance you will make time for them.

*Keep time for personal development. Your emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth contribute to your success in life. Hence, taking time out for meditation, reading or other self-improvement pursuits is very necessary. This gives clarity to your thoughts and the ability to respond appropriately when situations present themselves.

I am reminded of the famous adage: ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ Hopefully, this chapter has given you a few insights into achieving a healthy work-life balance.

[Excerpt reproduced with the permission of the publishers.]

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