The "work-life balance" concept was first realised in the 1980's as part of the women's liberation movement, advocating flexible timing to manage households and maternity leaves. The concept predates the liberation movement all the way back to the Industrial Revolution.
As working women continue to shuffle their responsibilities and career paths, their performance at work gets hampered. Research states that 78% of working women in India are taking career breaks to improve their well-being, plan career changes, and boost their confidence at work.
Work-life tangle for working women
"We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own "to-do" list." —Michelle Obama.
Women are often admired for wearing many hats. Working at the office or owning her business while managing households and families simultaneously. Studies show that working mothers are more likely than fathers to assume more responsibilities at home. So how can women achieve work-life balance without being overburdened with responsibilities?
Managing work and life is challenging and can become hectic for everyone. But for a woman, it becomes more challenging due to the responsibilities and roles demanded at home and at work. Apparently, everyone around you starts measuring your worth by the success of your professional career and perfection at the family level. However, if you cannot keep a balance between work and personal life, you will find that one spectrum of your life intrudes into the other. And this can lead to dissatisfaction, tension in the family, and the inability to function at one’s best. You need to plan carefully to ensure work-life harmony and increase productivity.
There are some underlying issues with the recent developments in our social and political climate, where we are moving towards a society where women are closer to receiving equal opportunities as men and the majority of women are pursuing work to support their families.
Here are a few:
Menstrual Day Difficulties
Child care duties
Single mothers and their difficulty in child care
How to address the tussle
In a recent LinkedIn research, 83% of working women realised they wanted to work more flexibly (source).
1. Manage Time
Spend time planning your day, time management is important. There is no hard-and-fast rule that you can follow about managing your time. But if you take some time to observe your day and plan your activities as per your priorities and suitability, it will make life quite easier and stress-free.
2. Follow a time table
If you cannot recount what you have achieved in a day or week, you might spend your time in a haze, doing one task after the other without much to show for all the time. Planning and sticking to a schedule will enhance your productivity. Set priorities and create a schedule around them. There has to be a designated time allocated to work and personal life that you follow. Learn not to have unrealistic expectations from work or even your loved ones. This will ensure that you are overwhelmed and stressed.
3. Prioritise yourself
If you are healthy and happy, you can keep people around you happy and healthy. Health comes first in any case. Most of the women skip their breakfast, forget to sip water, and don't take care of their me-time, meditation, or skin care. Have some time for your own health. Eat well, have proper sleep, and do not forget to get those vitamins and supplements that's way too essential to keeping yourself fit and active. Keep your personal first aid kit ready at all times. Of course, you can have one first aid box for the whole family, but make sure it has a few very important things in it for emergencies. During chores, you may get a cut, minor burns, a headache, back pain, or a sprain. Make sure your first aid box has first aid plaster, antiseptic cream, and a Zeno pain gel to give you instant relief from back pain, knee pain, and neck pain.
At the same time, pursuing hobbies as and when you get a break is very important for mental health. Set boundaries so that people at work or at home don’t disturb you when you are seriously involved in any task.
4. Avoid procrastination
Procrastination is a common obstacle many people face. Don’t wait until the last hour to complete your task, and allow your work and personal lives to merge to avoid procrastination. Once this habit starts, it’s challenging to kick. If you are someone who looks at tasks or assignments and baulks at their enormity, breaking things down into achievable goals will set you rolling. Maintain that time limit while being relaxed.
5. Stay Focused
Distraction and disinterest disturb your work, performance, and productivity. Help yourself be more productive and manage time by switching off notifications on your phone or computer. You can keep your phone silent and close certain windows until a task is completed. Keep your work-space clutter-free and ensure that you limit physical distractions to help you achieve work-life balance in the interim.
These are a few actions you may take to make sure your personal life isn't impacted by your business life. It might be time to scale down on certain responsibilities if your demanding job life is continually affecting your personal life.