Recently, someone mentioned that the whole work-life balance issue is overrated. They argue that they have enjoyed focusing on academics and work most of their life and feel very satisfied despite the lack of balance. There was also an assertion of a happy family life despite that so-called lack of balance.
That point is well taken, but the work-life balance is subjective, and everyone has their own preferences and priorities in life. While some prioritize their careers and academic pursuits above everything else, others may value a more balanced approach to life, with equal attention given to work and personal life. The implied notion of a perfect 50-50 work-life balance may not be realistic or achievable for many people. The ideal work-life balance is likely to be different for each person depending on their individual circumstances and priorities.
For example, some people may need to dedicate more time and energy to work during certain periods of their career to achieve professional goals or meet job requirements, while others may prioritize family or personal pursuits over their careers at different times.
Instead of aiming for a perfect 50-50 balance, striving for a healthy integration of work and personal life that works for you can be more helpful. This might involve setting clear boundaries between work and personal time, prioritizing self-care and personal growth, and cultivating strong relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
Ultimately, achieving a healthy work-life balance requires ongoing effort and adjustment, and no one-size-fits-all approach will work for everyone. The key is to stay attuned to your own needs and priorities and make conscious choices about allocating your time and energy to create a fulfilling and balanced life.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s situation is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. While some people may be happy with a lack of balance, others may feel burned out or unhappy if they neglect other important aspects of their lives for too long. Additionally, a lack of balance can sometimes have negative consequences, such as a decline in physical or mental health, strained relationships, or missed opportunities for personal growth and development.
Ultimately, finding the right balance between work and personal life is a personal decision that requires self-reflection, awareness of one’s priorities and goals, and a willingness to make adjustments as needed.
Zahid Awan is a psychiatrist.