I got this by email, and it was the trigger for this new post. I had to put down my thoughts on this subject, which have been festering in my mind for quite a while now, before they burst like balloons into nothingness.
It all started with the concept of multi-tasking. Multi-tasking, to me, is overrated, simply because I am a hopeless multi-tasker. I do things serially. I can concentrate on only one thing at a time. I do fine because I get the jobs ticked off the to-do list at the end of the day. I have seen people multi-tasking, flying, or should I say, flitting from task to task with the capriciousness of a drunk butterfly, and finally getting nothing done. I have also seen people who are supremely efficient and who can definitely multi-task with elan. But these have been very few and far between. I guess like other things, this is also a talent. Maybe you can also learn this, but I feel it’s like taking singing lessons. A person could probably be taught to sing passably and hold a tune, but only a person with real talent can sing beautifully. So my take on multi-tasking is that you ought to know how much you can handle, and pace yourself accordingly.
Which brings me to the other myth about how women are great at multi-tasking. I call it a myth because I myself am an exception. The debate is often in the context of being superwoman, juggling house and work, and trying to balance the two. Recent debates that have hovered around my rim of consciousness include how women can’t have it all, or why women, in fact, can have it all. I can’t understand this debate completely, because my question is more fundamental, and not limited by gender: Why do you want to have it all — at the same time? It’s like trying to stuff a three-course meal down your throat: take a sip of that appetizer, take a bite of the main course, scoop a spoonful of that dessert. You’re definitely not going to feel very good or satisfied, even though you might have polished off everything within the given time!
I understand that I could be accused of coming from a position of privilege: after all, I work from home, so I don’t really have to juggle as much as other folks, I don’t have financial problems, I don’t have personal issues… All true. However, I do feel that I’ve managed to arrange my life to be more peaceful simply by wanting less. This does not mean I didn’t/don’t have ambitions or dreams — in fact, I’ve managed to do most of what I wanted to do with my life so far.
And that brings me to the work-life balance. Do we really need to drive ourselves insane at work? I mean, why do we need to work longer hours, work weekends, work around the clock? As it is, we produce far more than we consume (at least to the eye, I don’t have stats to back up this statement), and we waste so much. If we scale back the levels of production, would we be seriously hurt? I doubt it. If we consumed less as a whole, then we wouldn’t have to produce so much, and of course we wouldn’t have to work so relentlessly. This would tilt the scales in favour of more life and less work, and wouldn’t that be a welcome change? I know, I know, this is a pretty simplistic argument 🙂 I guess this is why people urge you to follow your passion and make your career about something you love, because then you don’t really have to strike a work-life balance — it is already balanced, and completely in your favour.
So, with these kind of thoughts brewing in my head, it was in an entirely receptive frame of mind that I read the article and nodded in agreement.
I know each person is different, with different needs and circumstances, ambitions and appetities.
But I also know that “Less is more” works very well for me.