Wearing many hats
By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin
All Rights Reserved
Which hat do you wear the most?
We wear many hats.
Cliched but true, the phrase shows the problems we have maintaing a work lif balance.
We still cover our perspiring heads with those many hats every day. What is worse, we cannot seem to take them off.
Why is that so difficult? There is always a need to take sone of them off, but how do we do it?
Why we need a work-life balance
Like it or not, we need to tear off those hats at times. Work, at the expense of family life and a time of our own, causes a strain in more ways than one.
1. Negative implications on family life
For a start, it impacts family life negatively. With time hardly spent on them, family
life is strained.
That a busy father or mother does not know how well his children are performing in
school is not surprising.
2. Associated with health risks
To continue, a poor work-life balance is associated with many health risks. Increased pressure at work accounts for many health problems like weight gain, excessive smoking and depression.
This article does not advocate laziness, but certainly suggests that all work and no play makes Jack or Jane rather unhealthy.
3. Decreased productivity
Thirdly, contrary to popular belief, more work does not equate with increased productivity.
Excessive stress at work, as research shows, leads to less quality work. There is a heightened chance that we will spend more time doing absolutely nothing.
That feeling of nothingness is what we know as burnout. Spending all of our time at work, with no time for play leaves you with a lack of purpose.
Your passion for your work fizzles out. When that happens, you approach your work with a sense of routine drudgery.
5. Need for extrinsic motivation
Ultimately, you resort to extrinsic motivation. Those who are overly-stressed often need stimulants such as pills or coffee to keep them going.
Top Ten Tips for a Work-Life balance
Why balancing priorities is difficult
We certainly need to balance those priorities, yet doing so takes its toll for various reasons.
1. The need for security
One of them is a deep need for security. With the need to support our families, we struggle to hang on to our jobs.
Finding time to be an A Star mother or father is walking on a really taut tightrope.
2. The need to outdo others.
To add, humans are innately competitive. We need to outdo others. We need to show how much we have compared to our neighbors and friends.
That aggressive need, whether we are conscious of it, drives us to spend too much time at work or at least, thinking about it.
3. Unclear expectations of employers and employees
Fourthly, the unclear or unreasonable expectations of employers may result in poor time management.
Employees, too, may strive to prove themselves at work and believe, mistakenly, that bosses expect their presence round the clock.
4. The birth of technology
Those unclear expectations are made less clear with the advent of technology.
Everyone believes that they have to answer their emails 24 hours a day. The increased use of technology puts us on call round the clock.
Hence, we feel guilty when we do not respond immediately to work calls. It makes more difficult when employers take the liberty to call their employees after hours.
How to balance work and life
Knowing the difficulties, how do we strike a proper balance between our own interests and the work we do daily? Whether we are employess or self-employed, we need to strike that balance.
1. Get help.
The first thing we should do is to build a support network. Do not feel shy about asking fot help when you need it.
Having friends at work who are hands in need will take the stress off the job.
2. Let go of guilt.
You will also need to let go of the guilt you feel if you do not answer emails immediately.
After hours are just that. Claim them.
3. Establish boundaries.
Claiming them means establishing necessary boundaries. Know when you are off work and establish clarity about this.
If your employer cannot accomodate this need, yiu may need to consider your options and make a few plans.
4. Determine your own standards.
To add, we may be perfectionists. Prctice being reasonable with your standards.
5. Practice flexibility.
That means exercising a little flexibility. Assess if you are being a liitle bit too particular about certain matters and giving yourself unnecssry stress.
6. Create time for yourself.
Being more flexible means creating more time for yourself. We all need an occasional break from our responsibilities.
7. Enjoy family life.
Do take this well-deserved personal time to spend with our family members and those who need it.
More time for family and your personal interests allows you to feel more fulfilled.
8. Find good childcare.
To speak of family, finding reliable childcare services helps you to take your mind off family responsibilities while you are at work.
It gives you a clearer, fuller focus on your job and allows you to refocus on your family when you are at home.
9. Achieve integration.
Aside from finding child care, try to integrate your family and work needs. If it possible, make flexible work arrangements.
This is hard to achieve, but fulfilling when you do.
10. Get organized.
Lastly, get organized. For some, this sounds trite, but schedulers and organizers do help.
It takes a little effort and planning, but those many hats can be juggled.
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