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9 ways YOU can achieve work-life balance!

Last updated on: April 12, 2011 12:05 IST

9 ways YOU can achieve work-life balance!

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Parul Banka

Attaining a work-life balance can be quite a task, more so for the urban Indian woman. HR and training professional Parul Banka tells us how it can be made possible without much stress.

The only force that can stop me from being successful is I, myself. A positive and can-do attitude gets me a long way. A good employer can certainly facilitate in achieving my goals but the accountability lies on me to meet the goals and deliver results," says Vasu.

She goes on to add, "While I am travelling, I work on my laptop or utilise time to finish some phone calls. This saves time and helps me a great deal when I try to juggle work with home commitments." Indeed, a great example of optimum time utilisation.

In the Indian context, home responsibilities have traditionally been the arena of women. This tends to add extra pressure on working women. At the work place, the success parameters remain the same for both men and women.

Added responsibilities at home do not bring a leeway for a woman as far as moving up the corporate ladder is concerned. Therefore, women need to focus and juggle both the roles well. This article attempts to look at ways women can utilise time and attain better balance in life:

Parul Banka is a Human Resources and Training professional.

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh


Image: Achieving work-life balance can be quite a task. Here's how you can go about achieving it.

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Take support wherever possible

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Employ helpers for chores such as cleaning or cooking wherever your financial and personal situation allows it. I have seen some women who try to do all tasks themselves, even if their time commitments do not allow it. The result is frustration and avoidable stress. Trying to be a super woman is not realistic.


Image: There is no point trying to stress over things you can pay someone to get done.

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Learn to plan better

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Planning helps enormously when I look at my day's schedule. It helps me figure out what I would accomplish in the day. It could be as simple as a shopping list or deciding what to cook for the next meal.

I know a lady, who would go shopping for vegetables and other ingredients when it was time to prepare a meal.

The result was that before every meal, she ended up running to the market and spending lot of time while buying vegetables (and stress). She has recently moved to an organised shopping list; the result is less frequent trips to the market and less tension.


Image: Planning simple things like your weekly grocery items can go a long way

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Manage time better

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With so much to do in 24 hours, better time management is indispensable. Women could attempt multitasking (if they are not doing it already).

For instance, I find it very helpful to finish some phone calls with hands-free on when I am working in the kitchen. Similarly, when I need a break, instead of sitting idle, I switch to another activity that energises me and gives me the much-needed break.

I am associated with an organisation called Toastmasters, dedicated to public speaking. I am passionate about it and therefore, whenever I want a break from the regular tasks, I move on to a Toastmasters related activity, which energises me.

Different people would have different energisers; they need to figure out what energises them and use them accordingly.


Image: Time management is not a choice any more. It's a must-do

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Discuss with your partner

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This is simple but usually overlooked. Many times it helps to discuss with your partner about the family responsibilities that can be shared. For instance, while one person can cook the other can arrange the house or help the children with their homework.


Image: Always discuss things with your partner and get him to share your workload

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Improve your skills

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If you are a career-oriented woman and are on a break (maternity leave or for family reasons or relocation with spouse), do not stop learning.

Remember that skills are relevant with respect to their frame of reference. Once they become obsolete, it would be challenging to come back to work as per your expectations.

I have a friend, who had relocated to another country with her spouse and delivered her first child. But the responsibility of a new born baby did not deter her from enrolling for a course required to get a good job in that country. She studied while she stayed home with her son. Once she was ready to resume work, she had the right qualifications to go and face the competition.


Image: Keeping yourself updated with the latest in your field can send your career skyrocketing

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Exercise and de-stress

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This tends to take a back seat. Regular aerobics, yoga, gymming or any other form of exercise helps to beat fatigue.

Scientific research proves as well that exercise helps to release endorphins, the happy hormones, which de-stress us. I make it a point not to miss my exercise routine unless and until I leave office extremely late.

It relieves my stress, gives me an opportunity to make more friends at gym and keeps me fit. By the time, I am back from my exercise routine I am reenergised.


Image: Working out releases endorphins or the happy hormones that will de-stress you.

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Set your (realistic) goals

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Figure out what you want to achieve, where you want to be in your personal and professional life. The timelines may (and probably would) not match exactly but the knowledge that you are on the right path would keep you confident and going.


Image: Be it financially or personally, setting realistic goals is crucial.

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Empathise with yourself

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Vasu says that she finds women usually very hard on themselves. Often, guilt bogs them down. This specially applies to women with children who are left at home or with a baby-sitter or in the day care while the mother is away at work.

Women need to decide their priorities clearly and then act accordingly. There is not much point in grieving over about being away from children if the mother has a career.

The pros and cons of options need to be weighed and decisions taken accordingly. My view is that women should enjoy whatever option they choose, as they would not get this time back.


Image: Women are often hard on themselves. Don't be. It isn't worth it.

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Hold yourself accountable

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No matter what you choose, own up the responsibility to build your own identity. It is okay to choose a career or family or both, but whatever it is, let it be your own accountability and not anyone else's.

There is nothing worse than holding anyone responsible for your life. It is important to break the chains that you put around yourself and move on.

So, decide what you want and celebrate being a woman because as L'oreal says, 'You are worth it!'


Image: It's ok to choose career over family but make sure you hold youself accountable for your choices

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