Is your work:play ratio askew? Ruchira Karnik, co-founder and head of business development at Work Better, an executive education and training firm, shares five strategies for perfect balance
Until you decide that you deserve balance, work overload or chaotic personal life not withstanding, nothing is going to change. Now, how you define balance is individualistic; if work is play to you, and you're perfectly happy spending 70% of your time making your dreams come true, don't let anybody guilt you into reworking an equation that works well for you. If, on the other hand, your current work:life:me-time ratio is leaving you physically exhausted, mentally drained and spiritually numb, it's time to make some changes.
1. Learn to say NO! Indian women are not very good at saying No! But you have to be realistic about your capacity for productivity. Learning to re-negotiate unrealistic deadlines is crucial, to ensure work won't infringe on other aspects of life and that spillover from one project, doesn't derail others. Most importantly, do not leave decisions about yourself to others. You're the best judge of how much you can do.
2. Do it. Delegate it. Delete it: Most women are naturals at delegation. Now, if we could just leverage this skill effectively, we would have more time and space to do our best work. I generally divide the things on my task list into three categories—Do it. Delete it. Delegate it. Knocking the non-essential tasks of the list simplifies things considerably. Then all I need to do is figure out who is the best person for each task.
3. Know where to stop. Lets be realistic; our task lists are not going to end, even if we work around the clock. This is an on-going process, and we need to know where to draw the line, if we are to achieve any semblance of balance. What's worse, continuing to work when you're burnt out does more harm than good. It's wiser then, to call it a day and come back refreshed to ace another workday.
4. Be disciplined: From determining what time to get into work—whether or not you have a flexi-time option—to avoiding shifting focus mid-task, being disciplined when it comes to the small things, could add up to massive time savings. Staying on track is always necessary when there's tonnes to do and you've budgeted a specific amount of time to do it. The results of your discipline will eventually show up.
5. Be organised: Prioritising is pivotal when planning for the day. Are there jobs that demand more focus and time than others? Are there tasks better saved for downtime? For instance, interacting with colleagues, which is essential for team building, makes for a great way to recoup between tasks. Understand your tasks to ensure that your scheduling allows for adequate downtime between intensive tasks
Ruchira Karnik—entrepreneur, traveller, cricket fan and perfectionist amongst other things—is the co-founder and head of business development at Work Better, an executive education and training firm that has been providing customised soft skills, behaviour and management training solutions since October 2008.