Sometimes, I ask myself – throughout the entire day, do I spend even a minute for me? If I look at the schedule of my day, looks like I spend every single minute FOR somebody! Let that be my family, my kids, my wife or almost 9 to 10 hours for my office. Even when I am not working, I think about my work! That’s even worst… huh? I am sure this must be the case with almost everyone working in IT Services industry (at least) for years together. It may be true across the industries. Was the situation different when I was a kid? In fact, it was a different world altogether! So, what changed over the period of time? It triggers a discussion on balanced life.
A balanced life not only means work-life balance but achieving balance across the different roles that you perform throughout the life. We add all different roles to the life and then over the period of time, we just forget our own role! Let’s talk about this today.
Long ago, you were a kid! In fact you were a king!!! Your mother & father and almost everyone around you were taking care of you. You asked for whatever you want and your parents gave it to you.
During school and college days, you were in control of your time. You decided where to go for picnic. You and your friends were like those birds that got freedom to fly in the sky!
Then you got a job, got married and may be now father of small kids. What is the condition now? Think for a while… how much are you in control of your time and your own life? Out of 24 hours of the day, how much time do you spend for yourself… only for yourself? Do you wait for week-end to listen to your favourite song? Do you have time to even think about and plan for a picnic and visit to a place that you were dreaming for long time? Did you join a gym for daily exercise and now go there just once in a month? You like to play guitar and you know there is a maestro staying near your home who can teach you to play guitar better. But will you be able to go to him at least once in a week?
What happened over the period of time?
You are grown up with more responsibilities to play multiple roles. You were just kid with 24 hours a day for you. Then you became a student, then an employee, a husband, a father. Along with these roles there are few more roles that got attached to you… like a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a brother-in-law or sister-in-law and so on. Each of these roles has its own responsibilities and it demands time to perform that role. You spend almost entire day, week, month and years in playing these roles with utmost responsibilities. You get so much involved in performing these roles one after another that you don’t even think about anything else. You ensure that everybody say’s you are the best in that specific role. There is nothing wrong in playing these different roles with the dedication it require. However, do you know where is the role for ‘YOU’? Do you spend even a minute just to be as YOU?
Let’s assume that each role is a balloon filled with air which is nothing but time. All such balloons are occupying your life. How your life looks like now?
As long as each balloon has enough air in it and you are able to accommodate all the balloons in your life, you feel very much comfortable (even without your own balloon!). But in reality, every time, one or another balloon gets filled with more air due to some reason. Then it demands more space and starts pushing other balloons. As the overall space is constant (time available to you), such more demand from one or two balloons creates pressure and tensions for you… not only you but all the balloons around!
In most cases, the main culprit is your job i.e. balloon called ‘Employee’! How much time do you spend in office? How much is travel time to go to office and come back to home? Do you spend time in preparing reports and presentations even after coming home in the evening (or night)? Do you think about office issues even while having your diner with your wife and kids? Do you get phone call from your boss or client when you are at home and playing with kids? Do you spend weekends in office? What is the impact of this on other balloons tagged as ‘Wife’, ‘Son’, ’Daughter’, ‘Father’, ‘Mother’? Do you get complaints from your family members about your absence? Do they also feel pressure and tension when you are at home?
Here, ‘Employee’ is an example. But it could be any other balloon demanding more space and causing trouble to other balloons and ultimately creating pressure in your life.
Who to do?
Realize it. As and when any balloon gets filled with more air and need more space, it creates pressure. So, what you need to do is allocate fix space for each balloon. Constantly watch that any balloon is not demanding more space. However, there will be situations in life where you may need to give more space to a specific balloon. E.g. start of a new project in office demands more space for balloon ‘Employee’, other examples could be family celebrations like marriage of your brother or sister, somebody is sick and hospitalized or you just became father of a daughter which added one more balloon as ‘Father’!. But ensure this demand of extra space is temporary and make efforts to remove that additional air from the balloon and get back to normal condition.
Where is your own balloon?
If you constantly put efforts to allocate and keep only required air in each of the balloons and allocate space accordingly, you will be able to find space to add your own balloon very soon. For this, what is required is putting constant and cautious efforts. This is what I learned over the period of time and wanted to share with you.
I hope, now you will be able to manage all the balloons in your life and will also be able to add your own balloon! I am sure it will create a turning point in your life. Best Luck!