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Work, Sleep, Family, Friends, Fitness; PICK 3
We hear and read much about work-life balance. What is it all about? Work-life balance is the term used to describe the balance that an individual needs to strike between time allocated to work and other aspects of life. Areas of life other than work can be, but not limited to, personal interests, family, and social or leisure activities. This term was first used during the 1970s in the UK.
However, in the postmodern era, the nature of work and even the way work is defined has altered remarkably. The word ‘work’ was connected with certain fixed ideas and images. Traditionally, work meant a nine to five job, in one place, and preferably for life. No longer does it have to be that. Due to rapid technological advancements, work doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in an office, for a specific time period, and during rigidly decided hours. Working from home, flexible hours, video conferencing, working across time zones, as in a call center, have all transformed the nature and concept of ‘work’.
"Life can be balanced between 5 areas (work, family, friends, fitness, & sleep) by prioritizing 3 every day. @randizuckerberg argues that the beauty of the process lies in the fact that being lopsided towards different priorities is ok, & they will change" https://t.co/wJMQwDir5A
— Irina Novoselsky (@IrinaNovoselsky) May 18, 2018
On the one hand, it has made life easier, but on the other, striking the ‘work-life balance’ seems to have become even more difficult to attain. Consequently, there is more talk about an emphasis upon it. In the middle of all the techniques and tips to achieve the seemingly inevitable balance, a new voice has emerged which claims that it is futile to attempt the so-called balance between work and other aspects of life. Who is that?
It is none other but Randi Zuckerberg. She is the former Director of Market Development and spokesperson for Facebook, and a sister of the company’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Since 2014, she is founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, editor-in-chief (EIC) of Dot Complicated, and a writer. Her latest book, Pick three, has been published by HarperCollins on the 15th of this month. How did this book start? Just with a tweet by her almost seven years back. Yes, her tweet in 2011 read as follows.
Sounds surprising? At least according to this formula, if one wants to establish a startup and see it taking off at 45 degrees, and wants to keep fit, as well as being able to see their friends, they should be ready to sacrifice time with family, and forget enough sleep. This may sound a little too much for asking, and against the mantra that we have been hearing about work-life balance. However, several CEOs and founders of big companies agree with Ms. Zuckerberg’s idea of ‘PICK 3’. This concept implies that it is a matter of one’s priorities as to what an individual is ready to forgo, or at least, give less attention to.
For example, if you have got to have a bite at all new upscale eateries in town and each ‘dhaba’ you hear about, can’t miss any of the cricket super leagues and tours, wish to be able to spend ample time with your family, yet you have to hit the gym every single day, you should be ready to miss your sleep and forget about seeing your startup/business reaching soaring heights. This probably means that striking the balance among all five areas is very unlikely and one has to choose ‘imbalance’ particularly if they are looking for extraordinary success.
Randi Zuckerberg, a working mother herself, came up with the idea that as a working parent, one can’t ‘have it all (five)’, at least, not all the time. In fact, she suggests that you should not try to go for all, ideally speaking. And this is the topic of her new book whose title mentions the five areas of one’s life (work, family, friends, sleep, and fitness) followed by ‘you can have all’ but right below it, in brackets, it says, ‘ just not every day’.
She believes that whether you are a mother, a fresh graduate or an aspiring entrepreneur, you should only pick any three items from the list of work, sleep, fitness, friends, and family, so that you can fully focus on these areas of your life and attain the outcomes you desire in your chosen areas.
How this idea occurred to her? When she was starting her own company, it coincided with having her first child. Initially, she wondered as to how people balance it all. However, this was the point that made her realize that no one is actually able to balance all five of the aspects effectively. At this juncture, she decided to give herself the liberty of setting her priorities, instead of trying to juggle with too many things. Then she thought that others should benefit from the idea as well and set their priorities for certain periods of time rather than making futile attempts to strike the so-called work-life balance.
However, on the other hand, some executives claim that they are able to fulfill their work requirements within 40 to 45 hour work week. Hence, left with ample time to devote to the ‘other four’, or at least three more. Are these the people with unusual circumstances? Are they exaggerating about being able to fulfill all five areas efficiently? Are they living a life of an illusion where they are assuming that they are maintaining the balance but they are not?
Or are these the individuals who are actually able to pay enough attention to, and devote sufficient time to all five, and that too, in a way that one area is not neglected at the cost of the other four in the name of priority? What about you? Pause, think, and share.