Some say there is no such thing as “work-life balance.” I’d say it depends on how you look at the relationship between the two.
It’s difficult to achieve such if we’re to look at “the time spent for work versus the time you give to your personal life.” However, if we are to look closely, and focus more on the quality of time spent on any task, we can achieve the so-called work and life balance.
I spoke to Dr. Nicco Jake Francis Alegro, an Anesthesiologist/General Practitioner whose advocacy is to help people especially the working professionals in attaining, and maintaining a healthy balance between work as well as personal life through online consultations and counseling.
Here are some of his tips combined with mine on how we can be more productive and flexible at work and thereby, enjoy a better life.
Embrace change as it comes. And accept what you cannot change. We’ve heard it many times: “the only constant thing in this world is change.” And so, even if it is difficult at times, try to accept these changes that sometimes can pleasantly surprise us or knock us down. I understand that many of us want to control our circumstances, and it is right and admirable to fight for our dreams and aspirations. At times though, there comes an unforeseen circumstance that’s beyond our control, and all we can do is surrender to it. It does not mean we are quitters; no we are not. Sometimes, it means that a particular road is not for us or that there is a better route after the roadblock. As for me, I often pray for grace for “whatever gods may be,” the grace to accept what I cannot change. It’s okay to adapt to any change; to stop and begin again. Similarly, embracing change also means stepping out of your comfort zone. And by doing so, we grow as a person.
Hone your skillset and learn new ones. As with anything, if you focus on your job and what it asks of you, you develop skills that are helpful in your career, especially if you are aiming for a job promotion. Of course, this must come hand in hand with the right attitude not just towards work, but also towards the people you work with, which is also a skill one can hone or learn along the way. Developing your skills and making an effort to learn new ones can help you deal with challenges at work and in life in general. Keep an eye out for relevant podcasts, short courses, or online webinars, where your career heroes speak. Stay curious and keep up-to-date with industry trends, be hungry for new knowledge especially about your industry. Who knows someday, your time to share these nuggets will come and you get to help a lot of people in that way.
Be willing to compromise. Being able to listen and understand different perspectives is a gift. More so, being able to compromise without giving up your core values is something we must always bear in mind and adhere to. Being collaborative or being a good team player makes work easier. Simply put, a better working relationship with colleagues makes work easier. Also, it’s a leadership trait that’s good to develop.
Have a strong support network. “No man is an island” is a phrase we’ve heard countless times. Indeed, having a strong and stable support system is essential. A lifehack, if you may. Because, really, absolutely nobody has ever made it to the top on their own. One’s success is a product of a collective effort, support, and all other ingredients that are needed to get to where one aspires to be. So choose to always protect your tribe, your support system—whether they’re your friends, family, colleagues at work, or a combination of all these. Having one will come handy in time.
Plan ahead. While we enjoy and take in life day by day, planning ahead is just as important. I have been fortunate to be introduced to the importance of getting life insurance when I was in my 20s. There are a number of trusted names in the industry. One such is AXA Philippines, one of the country’s leading insurance providers that offers a flexible insurance product range like the AXA MyLifeChoice, which can be tailored based on one’s budget, protection coverage, and preferred payment term. More information about this can be found at https://www.axa.com.ph/mylifechoice.
Make time for what matters most to you. This means quality time with and for what matters most in your life. To me, this means God, my loved-ones such as family, friends, hobbies, and advocacies. To some, this could be their better-half/partner, children, or anything/anyone that grounds them. While we give most of our time and do our best at work, it is essential to always make time for what matters most in our lives. In fact, this must be a priority.
“If there’s one thing that’s constant about life and careers, it’s that everything changes. If you want to reach your full potential while enjoying your work along the way, one of the best things you can do is to learn to adapt to changes and better yourself to become more flexible at work and in life, no matter the circumstance,” Dr. Alegro said to me as our conversation comes to an end. (You may reach the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.)