Work & Play

Work & Play

Many years back, my company offered me a laptop. I felt very proud because it was a rare honour given only to a select few senior technical people. It was a great feeling to know that you can take your machine anywhere and can work from anywhere. Today, the same laptop is being offered as a standard feature for most employees in most IT companies. In addition, the small phones we carry can also do heavy computing work like a laptop. However, this comes at a cost which we don't realize fully.

In earlier generations, we had a concept of clear working hours and personal hours. People had time to spend for their family and personal interests. On some rare occasions, they might bring their work home. But that was always an exception. Today, those boundaries between work time and personal time have become hazy because people have computing devices with them everywhere. So, it has become very common for people to work much more than 8 hours – the normal working hours stipulated by the law. It is so easy that people don't even realize that they have switched from a family moment to a work moment at the click of a button.

Thankfully, many companies talk about work-life balance and want their employees to enjoy life outside office hours. But, the nature of work itself has changed drastically in this global economy and people need to stretch beyond their regular working hours. Else, they are afraid that they would be left behind.

As if to prepare tomorrow's workforce (that is, you!) for this trend, schools and colleges are using digital content (e-books, notes, videos, web meetings etc.) heavily which means students are working (studying) beyond the average number of hours they used to clock earlier. If they don't, they will miss out because others are doing it. Due to this fear, everyone does it and slowly it becomes a norm. Media also projects a rosy picture of people who work 12 hours or 16 hours a day. These workaholics may be great achievers, but this aspect of their personality is not a good trait to follow and certainly not at a young age.

Of course, you should work hard to study and later excel in your career. But that should always be balanced with something you enjoy doing on a daily basis which is important for your mental health. When you look back at your entire week or entire month and it has only "work" moments and no "play" moments, you are missing out on a long-term benefit and it is high time you should work to correct it. However, this is not easy to do due to the constant fear of missing out. You should understand that this is not scalable; slow and steady progress will help you enjoy the journey and reach your desired destination as well.

Speak to an adult whom you love and trust. Ask them to observe your studying/working pattern and comment on how to improve it in such a way that you get things done, yet, have time for other important things in life. This is a continuous process – the earlier you start, the better your future self will be.

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