When we keep repeating a set of actions, we get more and more used to it. The neural pathways in our brain responsible for carrying out that action get strengthened to a point where the action becomes as spontaneous as reflex. As a result, we find it extremely hard to break the pattern that has been established through over-repetition.
The problems of our work-life are directly related to this phenomenon. We are so used to getting up in the morning, getting dressed, travelling to office, working for a considerable length of time in a certain field, coming home, freshening up, eating, going to sleep and repeating it all over again, that we can seldom make room for anything else. We often hear working people say things like, “I really want to visit you guys, but I just can’t make time!” Actually, the problem is not about time, it is really about habit. It takes a huge effort to do anything outside of a set routine. But to maintain balance in your work life, some basic truths must be remembered and observed:
You are not your job
Your job is definitely a big part of your life, but you are so much more than that. Ask yourself, what defines me? If the only answer you get is your job description, then you need to get a life! You are a human being, and by nature you are multi-faceted. You are interesting, inquisitive, and adventurous – you are a natural explorer, meant to roam this world, musing on the little joys of life. If you have forgotten that side of yourself, you must reclaim it – think back to a time when you were a child, free and full of wonder. Instead of looking at your job as a binding obligation, start seeing it as a means to support your passions and interests.
Why are you working?
Don’t miss the bigger picture while you are immersed in your microcosm of work. You are not working for the sake of your job – you are working so that you may have a good life; so that your family is secure, so that you can avail opportunities for your children, so that you can enjoy life with the people you love. If you no longer have a life because your job consumes all of you, then the very purpose of your work is defeated. The people you love need you, as you need them; make sure you don’t ignore them.
Responsibility, not liability
All great preachers of the world tell us that all things will pass. Nothing is permanent. Be responsible with your work, but don’t hold yourself liable for every little issue in the office – your job is important, but in the endless wheel of time, it is but a tiny spec of inconsequentiality. Try to enter your working life with a tempered attitude of responsibility, not the frenzied panic of liability. Be humble but assertive and always believe in your heart that every crisis will pass.
Don’t wallow in the mire of self-pity by cursing your fate. It is true that you were born into a set of circumstances that dictates certain aspects of your life, but it is also true that you posses the power to uplift yourself from them. Don’t grudge the fact that you have to work, accept it and plan your life and time accordingly.
When you start to accept and let go, you will find the will to motivate yourself to do a lot more within your set framework of time than usual. Teach yourself to effectively utilise the time before and after work. Sleep regularly for a healthy period of time, keep your body and mind fresh with exercise and introspection, enjoy quality time with family, build up your own circle of like-minded friends and engage in activities which arouse your interest.
So what are you waiting for? Stop surviving and start living!