A lot is being talked and written about work-life balance. Usually this means that people are overworked and not spending enough time on “life”. A lot is also being talked about Quality time. This is usually in the context of making the most of the limited time available with the family, read “life”. The usual grouse is that since there isn’t much time available because of the long hours at work, we get limited time with the life and therefore need to make whatever time available “quality” time. True. So what if we turned it around and spent Quality time at work to be able to achieve work-life balance?
Spending quality time at work ensures that we are more efficient in our work. This means planning what is to be achieved during the day (to-do lists), more efficient meetings and fewer breaks while focusing on achieving things to be done during the day. I have found myself most efficient at work when I know I need to leave office early, on time :-), usually because I have another commitment with my family or friends. On those days, I prioritize my activities, don’t attend meetings that I can avoid and focus on completing my to-do list items. 8 out 10 times I am able to get out of office to maintain my work-life balance.
Of course on most days I work late. Do I have so much work? Probably. Am I efficient on most days? Probably not. I think we tune ourselves to work in a mode that is in line with path of least resistance. Being efficient each day is hard work. We all need breaks during the day. And we all encounter activities that are important and urgent (Q1) or just plain not important (to us) and urgent (Q3). We don’t spend enough time on activities that are important and not urgent (Q2), or sharpening the saw. Heard these phrases before have you :-).
When people crib to me about how they are unable to maintain their work-life balance, I say, it is your work and your life. No one else can balance it except you. So spend Quality time at work to get more time available for life. And hey, no harm spending Quality time in everything that you do, including “life”.