The past week inspired me to write an entry about work-life balance. As a motivational speaker here in the Philippines, most companies that seek my services struggle about how to promote this specific concept to their employees. This past week, I have realized the value of maintaining a healthy balance between work and other activities as I took down a couple of speaking engagements for the sole reason that I have a prior schedule with the church I am a member of. For some people, it would seem that my refusal means arrogance. Some would say I should feel regret for the lost opportunities. But these are far from the truth because I am a person who knows my priorities.
Our priorities fuel our day-to-day existence. They, in turn, are shaped by our world views. I’ve talked about this on a video I shared about the third quadrant of activities that permeate our lives. In today’s world, the border between the necessary and the unnecessary becomes less clear. People tend to be too occupied with climbing the corporate ladder, increasing sales, and saving more funds. We are slowly being conditioned to think that every day is a competition and everyone we meet is a potential competitor; hence, we take precautions in taking a single second for granted, as if in that single second, everything we have already built would be ruined. We seem to have become battery-operated machines that continuously produce results. We have forgotten that we could experience overheating, too. When this happens, what would become of us?
Machines need rebooting procedures to properly function. We are not machines. Naturally, our body feels exhausted and needs enough rest. This is work-life balance in its simplicity. A healthy work-life balance allows an individual to do work but still able to do other important activities for his well-being. In other words, it is not letting work become the center of our lives. Yes, work is important. There’s no arguing about that. But we have to ask ourselves if it is the most essential thing to make us feel satisfied and fulfilled. We have heard anecdotes of corporate leaders who work 24/7 and yet feel incomplete. We have heard stories of employees being offered a promotion but declined, because it would entail longer working hours and bigger responsibilities. Why so? The answer is simple: These individuals crave for work-life balance. Don’t we all?
In this light, allow me to expound on how to maintain a healthy work-life balance from my perspective as an inspirational speaker. Maintaining work-life balance entails listing our priorities or asking ourselves the sequence of the things we consider significant. I acknowledge that we have different priorities as we don’t have a similar worldview, but I would share my list that has also been used and proven efficient by those I have mentored.
My worldview is that everything comes from God, thereby, everything must stem from and return to Him. What I have today is not possible without His presence in my life. Therefore, God is my first priority. Always, I allocate time to visit and thank Him. Remember the Genesis? God worked for six days, but He rested on the seventh day. He has divine powers, yet, He needed rest. What more for us ordinary humans? In line with this, my second priority is my spouse. Because we share a life together, my wife belongs to my top priorities. We take time to share a meal every day and talk about the highlights of our day. We take time to spend the weekends together and do the things we both love, like driving out of town. If you’re not married, the second priority could be your parents who raised and helped you become who you are today. Talk to them about your plans, accompany them to their medical appointments, or take them somewhere. Believe me, they love these simple gestures that make them feel valued. Third is my family. This includes my siblings and my children. We work for the future of our children, but it does not mean that we don’t have a responsibility to bond with them. Most parents today, because of “busyness” at work, can’t even visit their children’s school and track their learning progress, which is why problems about peer pressure, depression, and bullying happen. Again, these busyness would be reduced if only we know our priorities. When all of these are tended to, we could count our work in our priority list. Work is temporary. It could feed us and send our children to school, but it could not make us laugh like our children do or make us feel at peace like God and our parents and spouse do. Last is ministry or other people in our community who need help. Why did I turn down work opportunities because of a church commitment? My answer is simple: I prioritize God over my occupation.
If you ask me if there are any regrets, I would confidently say “none”. In fact, I feel happy and satisfied with the thought that I am able to embrace my priorities in the quest to achieve work-life balance. In a simple way, such as reducing overtime hours or being strict with an 8:00 to 5:00 work schedule, you could maintain a healthy balance between your job and your social relationships. After all, it has been proven that people who are happy with their lives are more productive when it comes to work.
This is Joey Gurango, your Business Technology Coach!