I’m sure you’ve seen those articles and pictures of people who wake up before the roosters and their lives are such bliss? You’ve wondered how you can be like them? Secret: It is rare to be that good! Here is a guest post from NoorJehan Arif, a business, productivity and information technology strategist. She tells it like it is, no nonsense! Thank you, NoorJehan, for your input!
We all want to balance our work and life together. Who doesn’t. We lament about lack of balance in our lives when our personal and professional agendas clash.
Tons of articles online promote the idea of waking up at 5 a.m. to take charge of life and to have extra hours in the day. Do you know how exhausting that is? I tried the 4 a.m. wakeup challenge. Needless to say, I was wiping the floor with myself when evenings rolled out.
Times like these, you don’t need work-life balance tips. What you and I both need is the real truth! Here are five major work-life balance myths that I debunk for you. These are the five lessons I have learnt over time since transitioning into a full-time business owner:
There is nothing called balance:
I have read tons of articles and self-help material related to work-life balance. When I was working for a corporate, I would obsess over these articles. My work had taken over my life and my personal and private lives were nonexistent. I felt dominated by work and there was no end in sight. But, after starting my own business, I realized what balance truly means. It means that there is no balance!
You have got to let go of the ideal that balance exists and you need to achieve it. It is a paradox. Balance is how you prioritize things in your life. If you family is important, then that’s where you should focus your time and energy on. It is perhaps akin to having the flu and not resting. If you don’t rest, you don’t get well, now do you? Same is the case with the priorities in your life. YOU choose this “balance”.
4 a.m. Mornings do not exist:
They don’t exist. Period. There are numerous gurus online who continue to promote the 4 a.m. waking up routine, paired with a jog and what not. If this routine hasn’t worked for you yet, it never will! I am known to wake up at 5 am in the morning, but truth be told, I start functioning only after its 6.30 am. My morning productivity is limited to changing into my work clothes, working out, and getting some breakfast (in no particular order!) For some, even that is too much. Your productivity game is yours. You can’t utilize somebody else’s productivity routine, and benchmark it for yourself. You’re setting yourself up for failure and the guilt is not easy to digest, especially if you’re your own boss.
Business Hours are not real
Whoever still feels that work should be limited to business hours, is really pulling your leg. Trust me on this. When does work ever finish? It never does. Work is not separate from who you are. You are a combination of your family, friends, work, relationships and a whole lot more. So, stop distinguishing between work and real life as two separate demons. Life and work need to be combined as a single entity that you need to work on based on your priorities. When people say their work priorities clash with their life’s priorities, that is when they are setting themselves up for failure and frustration. Blend your work with your personal priorities and work on what needs your attention at any point.
Number of hours does not equal productivity
Productivity is not a sum of the number of hours worked during the day. Mostly when we are tired, we are unable to focus on our work. Productivity goes down. Work does not get done. Same is the case when you’re stressed or burnt out. Some people will boast about how many hours of work they pulled during the workweek. That does not make them productive, it makes them a workaholic or perhaps narcissistic. What you should be concerned about is focused approach towards your work with minimal distractions and multitasking. Focused hours towards your work equates insane productivity!
There Is No Finish Line for Success
This is for the bunch of us who love to overwork and spend the rest of our hours thinking about work. There is no end line that marks success. If you sprint towards success, you WILL burn out. Success is a marathon, where we must continue to strive for what we want. The concept of success as a destination (that top grade, full marks on your exam, perfect SAT scores, 1 million revenue mark, and more) has been ingrained in our minds since the beginning. We need to relearn the concept of success as milestones in our lives. Success is a never-ending achievement of milestones. Once this concept is learnt, work-life balance would be a redundant concept!
NoorJehan Arif is a business, productivity and information technology strategist. Her love for tech products and business oriented process improvement, and her laser-cut approach to time management and productivity, make her a strategic thinker and productivity expert. A supporter of Educational Initiatives, and focused on business strategy initiatives; she loves working with new and budding entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals. Her areas of focus include productivity, entrepreneurship, starting and running your own business, professionalism in the workplace and career success. Her consulting solutions include business strategy development, web development, mobile app development, project management, and productivity solutions. Currently, she is working on her debut book, a piece of fiction on women empowerment. You can check out her business portfolio on www.mushawar.com and her personal portfolio on www.noorjehanarif.com