TECH TALK: Vision and Worries: Work-Life Balance

I spoke that evening about three worries. I will start by sharing those. And then, I want to discuss more on The Big Worry.

The first worry I spoke about was maintaining a work-life balance. Funnily, I never thought about this in my life until recently. For the most part, my life has been all about work from the time I wake up till I go to sleep. I enjoy work so treating at as a continuum only interrupted by periodic sleep has never been a problem.

Life has changed completely after Abhisheks birth just over six months ago. Abhishek, born after over 11 years of marriage, is a disruptive innovation. The first two months after this birth, he was at my wifes parents place so I didnt think about change much. When Bhavana (my wife) and he returned to our home, I had to make some dramatic changes. And it wasnt easy.

For some time, I tried to have the best of all worlds. Play with him and work, at times both simultaneously. As she has done so often, Bhavana changed my perspective. One evening, with some emails to be answered, I was sitting on the computer instead of attending to Abhishek. Bhavana then said to me, Its fine if you dont want to help in bringing him up. If your work is more important, go ahead. Just tell me clearly and I will never ask you again. I am fully capable of raising him on my own.

The words hurt. And they continue to resonate in my ears. I had in front of me the child we had waited for so long. And here I was, thinking not of him, but of some emails that should have been answered during office hours or could so easily wait till tomorrow. The problem was my attitude. I had never bothered to make my personal life efficient. Suddenly, my actual work hours had changed from 7-10 to 10-7 (7 am-10 pm to 10 am-7 pm). All along, I just went along with enough slack in my life getting things done eventually. Now, with Abhishek in my life, that slack had disappeared. I had to make choices. Did I want to help raise Abhishek or did I want to continue my work life like before?

The answer is completely obvious. But I had not seen the reality till Bhavana put it in front of me that evening. I had to bring about change in my work life rapidly. Since that day, I have tried to. I now realize the importance of priorities. Earlier, Id essentially try and get everything done (whether I needed to or not) since I had an infinite pool of time. Now, I need to become efficient and focused. I have started in that direction, but I worry that I am not doing so fast enough.

Abhishek is a start-up where I will get no second chances. Waking up with him every morning shortly after 5 am is one of lifes delights now. I try and get home before he goes to sleep around 8 pm. I have limited my travel so I can spend more time with him. I worry less about the unanswered emails. I delegate more now and get less into details. The time with Abhishek also helps me think better as I try and imagine the world he will grow up in. I have started to build a balance between work and personal lives there will be inevitable overlaps, but I am now much more ready to address those situations.

For good measure, here is a post by Brad Feld on the same topic.

Tomorrow: Talent

TECH TALK Vision and Worries+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.