Editor’s Note: Balancing Act

Sep 04, 2015 1 Min Read


I don’t know about you but, of the (thankfully few) funerals I have attended, I have never heard the sentence uttered:

“He was a good man – he never once fell behind on his to-do list, and was always the first to arrive to work and the last one to leave.”

There is a continuing debate about whether there can be such a thing as a work-life balance. I would argue that there can be, but I am being slightly hypocritical: I’m currently writing this article on a Sunday afternoon, and have promised my wife I will “unplug” on Merdeka Monday.

As I write, I find I’m being offered some real pause for reflection. I work from Monday through Friday, and write on Saturdays. I make it a rule to switch off on Sundays and spend time with family, do some meditation, read, and simply be present, thankful for the life that I have and my loved ones around me.

In an article that flew around the Internet and national newspapers, palliative nurse Bronnie Ware wrote about the five most common regrets of the dying. It’s worth looking for, if you have yet to read it. Under the regret of “I wish I hadn’t worked so much”, she writes:

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

Work commitments are important. We need to contribute in whatever role we play to ensuring our organisations do well. If the organisation thrives, so do its people, who can do things like pay bills, travel, and save for their children’s education and future investments.

But we seem to be overdoing it and research suggests that overworking not only affects us personally in a number of ways, but it actually limits workplace productivity. How many organisations, for example, allow their culture to become so relaxed that much fun is had within working hours, leaving employees having to catch up on work at the expense of time with their family?

In my opinion, Joseph Tan’s Be A Leader article hits the nail hard on the head. Joseph writes about working parents, and how there needs to be a greater focus on nurturing relationships at home and less focus on how many hours we put in. As Joseph says, our relationship with the boss lasts for a season – our spouse is, hopefully, with us for a lifetime.

Yes, we should work hard and do our best, but let us not chase deadlines and targets at the expense of living. On that note, I’m going to take my own advice and sign off…

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Till next week,

Here is the list of stories for the week:

  • The Gap Is Widening… by Sara Yee
  • Working Parents: Getting The Balance Right by Joseph Tan
  • How To Be A Talent Magnet by Karin Hurt
  • 5 Practical Tips To Make Your Work Enjoyable by Victor SL Tan
  • Why We Should Alter Our Perception Of Time And Success by Daniel Lee
  • Youth Mindset: Collaboration Beats Competition by Marcus Lim

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This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com with the consent of the guest author. 

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