You really can strike work-family balance with these lifestyle changes

  • Soumya Vajpayee Tiwari, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 03, 2015 17:10 IST

If you are a working professional, you would certainly want to quickly wrap up the day’s work to spend time with your family. But living in a metropolitan city, work pressure and traffic woes often play spoilsport.

This saps many working professionals of energy, leaving them unable to spend quality time with their families. This can be stressful and stifling. Their inability to strike a work-life balance may lead to stress, insomnia and even depression.

Patrick Pichette, the CFO of Google, recently announced his retirement from his role on similar grounds as he wanted “to spend more time with family”.

While all of us value our professional lives, it is essential to separate work and home to stay mentally and physically healthy. Here’s how you can go about doing that.

* Don’t feel guilty
Despite being excellent professionally, many women quit their jobs to spend time with their family out of guilt. Strikea balance between your work and family rather than quitting. Be ambitious, but don’t neglect your loved ones.

* Break it up
One way to balance your work and personal front in a healthy way is by compartmentalising the various aspects of your life. You should ensure that you focus on one thing at a time. Do not try to multi-task and bite off more than you can chew. For instance, switch off your cell phone and electronic devices during family meals. That way, you won’t be tempted to check your WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter notifications all the time.

* Time out
Treat time like a precious commodity, and spend it judiciously. Stay away from distractions during work. Assign your time to things that really matter, that way you will not spend your energy and time doing futile chores or assignments. This will allow you to save time to do things of your choice.

* Drop time-sapping activities
Sometimes at work, people often waste their time on activities that don’t add value. For instance, long chats during breaks at your workplace can eat into your productive time and force you to stay longer in office to finish your work. Take stock of the activities that don’t enhance your career or personal life, and minimise the time spent on them.

* Go slow with change
You don’t need to make big lifestyle changes. Try making small efforts and see how things shape up. For instance, whenever you can leave your workplace an hour earlier than your regular time, reach home soon to spend some extra time with your family. Such gestures usually don’t go unnoticed, and make your presence felt at home.

* Downtime is a must
When you plan your week, ensure that you schedule time with your family and friends, plan activities that help you recharge — a dinner with your spouse or a family get together once a week, so that you have something to look forward to. This will also act as an extra incentive to manage your time better. Try to have at least one meal with your family or go out for dinners once a week. Even if you don’t spend hours together, such moments are important to bond. After all, your family are the people closest to you and just spending time with them or sharing your frustrations can also act as a stress-buster.

— With inputs from Dr Kersi Chavda, consultant in psychiatric medicine; Dr Anil Patil, MBBS MD; Dr Amrapali Patil, weight management expert; Dr Ashit Sheth, psychiatrist

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