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Is work-life balance a gender specific issue? Why do women find it more challenging?
Well, wouldn't you if you were managing people at work, deadlines, targets, meetings, as well as managing the vagaries of home life like electricity bills, children, groceries, meals and homework?
My organisation recently conducted a series of training workshops on work-life balance with women employees of a leading automobile group and a leading company in the real estate sector.
During the workshops, many women confessed that while they are doing justice to their various roles as wife, mother, executive, manager etc, there came a point when their individual identity was lost.
The fact is simple. There is simply no 'me time'. And women are loathe to express their feelings and concerns for fear of disturbing the peace. So they keep it all to themselves, which is not healthy.
How it can affect you?
Imbalance caused by long working hours, lack of support, unclear demands, lack of growth opportunities at work, motivation and recognition could lead to ill health.
~Some common maladies are:
It's clear the imbalance needs to be corrected; the question is how? Here's what our training consultants suggest:
Talk it out, share concerns
Don't be a lone ranger in your effort to achieve work-life balance. Ask for support, whether from family, friends, colleagues or your boss.
~ Sometimes, even discussing one's concerns can solve a lot of problems.
~ Always be open to accepting and learning from inspirational sources.
~ Giving an expression to your thoughts and concerns will also improve the quality of your relationships and improve efficiency at work.
~ Don't be scared of seeking help from a specialist.
Respect your personal space
Be strict in maintaining territories between work and private life. There is a huge grey field and, if you let it grow, the demands made on you will only increase.
Share and treat responsibilities at home with the same urgency and importance you give projects at work. Most women tend to postpone responsibilities like spending time with the husband, in- laws and children.
Don't act out of guilt, but do start respecting your personal life. Give quality time to yourself. It is important to introspect and be in sync with your well-being. You need to keep evolving as an individual at all times.
Do not compromise on the quality of your life and relationships.
Enjoyment and achievement
These are the two factors at the core of an effective work life balance.
A sense of achievement leads to enjoyment, which reflects pride, satisfaction, happiness, celebration, love and a sense of well-being. Next time you feel an imbalance, ask yourself these questions:
~ When was the last time you achieved and enjoyed something at work?
~ Did your happiness spill over to your family and friends?
~ How recently have you achieved and enjoyed something just for you?
Identify your sources of joy and happiness
When was the last time you indulged yourself?
It could be anything from wearing your favourite clothes to spending time with your pets. Spend some time doing what you enjoy the most and don't be apprehensive of being judged. Rekindle the child within!
If being with your family makes you happy, then go ahead and plan that picnic or impromptu dinner. Spending time with them will give you that much deserved break as well as help strengthen your bond with them.
Deeksha Singh heads business development at WCH Training Solutions
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