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Work-life balance: Fact or fiction?

If we were to agree on a golden rule for success, it would be this:
“There is no progress without sacrifice”.

Extraordinary results happen when we go to the extreme of our capabilities. But, the cost of living on the edge is high. Sometimes, we may sacrifice our relationships and health.

Which is why we strive for work-life balance: the middle ground through which we are able to dedicate an equal amount of time and energy to ourselves and our work.

How do you balance your personal and work life?

“When the ballerina poses en pointe, she can appear weightless, floating on air, the very idea of balance and grace. A closer look would reveal her toe shoes vibrating rapidly, making minute adjustments for balance.”

None of us can ever truly achieve complete work-life balance because it’s an illusion.

Meet work-life counterbalance

Like the ballerina making small adjustments to balance their body, our work and life require tight counterbalancing. Counterbalancing is knowing when to focus on what.

Counterbalancing is all about prioritising and learning how to narrow your focus on one thing at a time, so that you don’t miss out on what matters the most.

Counterbalancing, when done well, gives the illusion of a balanced life, says Gary Keller.

To thrive in your personal life, avoid being away for long periods. Also try to remember that long working hours have a short-term benefit, with a huge cost in terms of your health.

In your professional life, make peace with the fact that aiming high will require you to be slightly out of balance with your personal life for a long time.

“Let the right things take precedence when they should, get to the rest when you can.”

– Gary Keller, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

How can you counterbalance your life?

Limit yourself to three major tasks a day.
Keeping your to-do list free from clutter will not only help you achieve more, but will also reduce the mental strain of battling unfinished tasks at the end of the day.

Make space for productivity with calendar blocking.
This will help you estimate how long certain tasks will take, and also prioritise them.

Task-batching is ideal for working on smaller tasks.
This is ideal for tasks like catching up on emails or meal prepping in the evening.

Draw physical and mental boundaries in between work and life.
Create a relaxation routine to separate your work hours from your personal time. Try this: In the final 30 minutes of your workday, make a mental or written checklist of the tasks you need to work on the next day, and leave your desk for a change of scenery.

Learn to say “no”.
As you progress in your professional life, it’s important to know when “no” is the right answer to a question. Of course, you should always aim to do this politely. Being a people pleaser can result in having an insurmountable amount of work on your list.

This, if left unresolved, will lead to long-term stress and burnout.

Work-life balance can seem like a dream. Counterbalancing is the first step to make it your reality.

Guest blog post by SOCIATE, a communications agency in Dubai

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