The secret sauce to work life balance

Article by Ranjit Jatar Managing Director at Nova Edge Solutions Pvt. Ltd

The only caveat to this recommendation is that if you are married, then your partner needs to be aligned to the same style of managing work life balance. 

You remember the times ( I do!!) especially in ones growing up years when senior members in our family frowned upon some practices we as teenagers or young adults did against their grain? It differed from family to family. I knew families for eg where in the pre-satellite TV era it was considered watching movies wasnt as uplifting as watching theatre. Now many good plays ( eg in Marathi and Bengali are being made into movies and being lapped up by the same older generation on TV ).  Today some of us who are in midlife frown upon youngsters who use facebook at the drop of the hat. I guess every generation has this attitudinal frowning upon for the next generation. And feel the next generation isn't managing their "life" as well as we did.

Lets now move on to a term that wasn't invented till the 90s. Work -life balance. 

For my generation and a million years before the late 1980s, it was difficult to work after one left office. No mobiles, no internet, no pagers, no faxes . When it came to "life" and variety in Life, till the early 1980s in India, there was no TV to distract and hence "Life" had lots of variety, and no bad habits of watching too much TV and not meeting neighbors. 

How sad!! Assuming an average life of 40 years in the past, ever since Jesus left the earth 2000 years ago , 50 generations had so called perfect work life balance. Nicely segmented time periods. But hey--how sad. How sad that they missed so much of the spectacular work-life that we now have. 

This post isn't aimed at explaining what work-life balance is. We all know what it means.  However whats now happenning is not only 24X7 "work" ( official emails, official whats app) but also 24X7 "life".( unofficial emails, unofficial whats app). And often they converge. On 31st Dec while partying, it isn't unusual to also get a whats app message from your sales manager telling you --"sir we met our year end target" even as our friends from another continent wish us well for the new year. (And if one is dancing, one can from one hand read both the messages and party even harder coz your junior has helped you achieve your incentive targets. Your dancing partner will probably be reading her messages too). 

I think the key issue is HOW to multitask well. Where peace, quiet and calm (zero messages) is also a "task" in the bucket of life. And all of us--type A, type B or Type C personalities need to find ones own method, where Multitasking doesn't create stress within ( and externally if ones spouse or partner is of a different type). 

For me, the answer lies in learning the principles of HIIT. The exercise method which is now the rage world over. In High Intensity Interval training, you exercise hard for 20 seconds ( at my age taking the heart rate to not more than 150 beats /minute) and then go v slow for 90 seconds ( where the heart rate drops to 100 beats or so). Then back up ...and down again. For not more than 10 to 15 minutes. HIIt is recommended 3 or 4 times a week. Not more. On other days --a regular "trot" or a tennis game or swimming or whatever.  And 6 to 7 hours of sleep. Now isnt that multitasking esp HIIT? 

If the family is aligned, HIIT ( with variants) can happen after office hours too with no disturbance to work-life balance. You would then leave office in time, reach home in time, have a coffee and a cookie with the family, maybe dinner too -- and then have that planned call in high intensity ( and short mode) as if one were still in office, because by doing so, one is then able to catch your client in another time zone. As long as the various constituents of "life" --time with partner, time with kids, peace and calm -- are also considered as "tasks' and included in the HIIT or then in the steady exercise mode. 

is including HIIT as a process the secret sauce? Will it work for you? Any better way? 

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(1) Comments

Mayuresh Narayan

Great Article