Channelising the Care: Realistic Ways to Manage Work and Home

In one of our earlier articles, we talked about working professionals, along with the struggles faced by the two genders, and how it’s necessary that we work with each other, instead of creating battles and rivalries.

Having said that, many working professionals still struggle with missing out on important events from their children’s lives. They often end up feeling drained out and demotivated as they juggle home and work, and often at the expense of the other. Many working professionals might relate with the following anecdote:

Riya was awarded the best administrative professional this month. She had thrown a little treat for her colleagues. It was an occasion to be happy and proud of one’s self. However, Riya seemed gloomy and just not her usual self. When asked if something was wrong, she revealed that although she had got the award, she had missed her son’s school function, and missed her mother’s birthday.

She was questioning her ability to balance work and family.

Sometimes, some of us are slightly lucky, with gracious colleagues and bosses who help us make adjustments. Another anecdote will throw more light on this:

Rajeev was not in mood that day, while his boss noticed, and asked what happened? Rajeev confided that it was annual function in his daughter’s school and she had participated in it. He will not be able to attend because of the urgent meeting today. To this the boss grants him two hours short leave to attend and come back, and then give the presentation at the meeting; the boss felt that since he had everything prepared, it won’t be difficult. Rajeev was grateful to his boss and quickly attended the event and returned.

Whether you are a man, or a woman, such scenarios might be very familiar to many of you. It is a sad reality of our times.

What are some realistic things working professionals can do to balance the home and the work front?

Communication and honesty:

The first step is to admit that you are struggling, that you are indeed missing out on certain events, sometimes in the home sphere, and sometimes in the work sphere. Honesty to one’s self is the first step. The pressure to be the perfect employee and the perfect parent can be draining. Once you admit to yourself that you are struggling, you can communicate this concern to your colleagues and bosses. You can also take your family and children into this communication, in fact, and ask everyone (at home and at work) what their expectations are from you, and what sort of event means how much to them. The next step is to communicate what are the things that you will be able to manage, and what are the things that might need some management of expectations from their end. Note that you may also have to manage the expectations you have from yourself.  

Once you have expressed your concerns, the next step is to prioritise.

Prioritise and set boundaries:

Some events at home could be more important than some events at work, and vice versa. Sometimes it is not even about the scale of events, as much as what the event means to someone. As you take stock of what’s on your plate, make clear distinction between what can be absolutely not missed at any cost, for both spheres. A basic rule of thumb is to communicate to your colleagues that you need to attend an event beforehand, and not leave it until the last minute as much as possible as was seen in the second anecdote.

While being polite and respectful about the communication to your colleagues, be unapologetic to that little inner-voice that makes you wonder if something can be compromised. That inner-voice might also tell you that you will be able to manage everything, and that you don’t need to say no to anything.

But you need to remember that it is about quality over quantity. It is about attending that one important meeting, where you let go of the event at school that doesn’t mean much to your child, and it is about attending the event (big or small) that means the most to your child, and letting go of that one meeting where you don’t even need to be present. You can also team up with your spouse, and coordinate as to who will be attending office on the day of the child’s event, and who would attend the event.

As you try to lighten the burden of expectations over your shoulders, the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. Letting go of the guilt that comes with missing out on something, whether at work or at home could be an unrealistic thing to think about: the guilt might stay.

But what can be done is to at least understand that the guilt is a natural response, and that it simply shows that you care. Channelising that care in the right direction, at the right time, through realistic expectations and decisions is what matters.

Prioritizing: The Pareto Way!

pareto principle image


You have a pile of tasks waiting to be handled.

Your to-do list has extended to pages.

The list of things to be accomplished feels endless. And you don’t know where to begin.

Above everything, it feels daunting!

In such situations, the Pareto Principle can help one out.


First Things First, What is the Pareto Principle?

An Italian economist and philosopher named Vilfredo Federic Damaso Pareto came up with the concept back in 1895. Nature has a way of giving humans ideas.

An apple led to a major scientific breakthrough for Sir Isaac Newton. Similarly, observing growth patterns of pea-plants led to a sociological, economical breakthrough for Mr. Pareto.

He noticed that only 20% of the pea plants in his garden accounted to 80% of the healthy pea pods produced.

He undertook some research and found out that only 20% of the population of Italy owned 80% of the entire land of the country.

He looked up industrial trends back then and found out around 80% of production came from only about 20% of industries. The Pareto Principle thus was born:

80% of the results will come from only about 20% of action.


Are the Numbers confusing?

Let us take some more modern examples, without the numbers.

Most of the times (80%) we dine in at the same set of favourite restaurants (20%) from all the options available. And most of the times we order more or less the same set of delicacies from the vast menu.

Most of the times, we wear only few sets of clothes from all the outfits we own.

Most of the times, we spend time at only the same few corners of house, no matter how big the place is.

Some of us have installed a lot of apps on our phones, but we generally use only the select ones.

There are a lot of options available. But we make a choice. We prioritize.

How does this apply to time management and to-do lists and projects/assignments , you ask.

Read on.

Just as there is a selection and prioritizing of the above mentioned simple day-to-day aspects of life, we can use that strategy in managing our tasks too.

And let us be honest, it is not always about favourites. We choose the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the apps we use according to the context and what the situation demands.

20% of your activities will amount to 80% of your results. 20% of your clients/customers will amount to 80% of your successes.

20% of what you do will add value to 80% of what you do.


One very important point to be noted comes up here:

You only need to devote 20% of your time and action to get done with 80% of your work. You actually don’t need to work day and night to get things done.


What can you do about your working habits while keeping the Pareto Principle in mind? How do you pinpoint that golden 20%?

The Importance Rating:

Don’t make a to-do list randomly. Prioritise the tasks in it.

  • Which tasks need urgent attention?
  • Which tasks can wait, and for how long?
  • Which tasks need further thinking?

The key does not lie in over-working to the point of exhaustion. It actually lies in working smart. It involves choosing what is the most important thing that should be finished first. And then the second, third, fourth and so on.


The Individual Consideration:

As you prioritize and select tasks also consider the following:

  • Are you capable of finishing the task alone or do you need a hand?
  • Are you and only you capable of finishing the task?
  • Can you delegate it?

It involves making a choice about which tasks you and only you should finish, and which tasks should be delegated or which tasks should involve a team.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed by a pile of work to be done, take a pause and think about the Pareto Principle. What is that 20% of the task that needs to be done first, so that it finishes 80% of the work? It is true hard work never killed anyone but it is smart work that gave people a much needed work-life balance!



Lives of Happy Candidates: Mr. Gopal Singh Bisht

Success story_Gopal Bisht

The meaning of “success” is somewhat elusive. It means differently to different people.

For some, it is all about fame and fortune. For others, it includes finding enough time to follow one’s passion, and sometimes, exclusively just that. In yet another sense, success means achieving a certain peace of mind. A common perception of the term has to do with achieving a perfect work-life balance.

Generally health, wealth and an increased learning are safe indicators of “success.”

Many believe in letting success do the talking.

We believe in our successful candidates do the talking!

Settling, being comfortable in a new place is no mean feat. Mr. Gopal Singh Bisht, who works at Parco Group of Industries in Nigeria has some happy words to say.

” I am grateful to you for connecting me with Parco Group. I am well-settled here and doing well. ”

Mr. Gopal Singh Bisht
Mr. Gopal Singh Bisht


He continues, “So far I am enjoying my work with African Foundaries Limited. I have also gained more experience, which I am sure would help me in my career in near future.”

He also tells us how he finds time to have fun.

“Apart from working, there is time for pleasure here as well. We go to different parts of the country for refreshment: shopping, to the beach, etc.”

Times at the beach
Times at the beach


As one can see, Nigeria has a lot more to offer than the negative stereotypes we come across through hearsay and exaggerations.

Learning, and becoming a better professional requires adapting to the new place. We give kudos to Mr. Bisht for actively doing so. But more importantly, any new endeavor should not only be conducive to professional success but also to general well-being and health. And our happy candidate proves this with his testimonial.

“Working in this company, I have learned to accommodate according to the rules laid down by the management. I must confess this is the best company I have worked with. The environment is conducive. The offices are good. The place has affected my health in a positive manner.”

Good health, professional growth, work-life balance, hope for the future, gratitude are some great indicators of success and Mr. Bisht has articulated that.

Behind the Workaholism

Workoholic - Copy

The work culture of any corporate enterprise differs, and there are factors like the industry concerned, whether it is privately owned or state owned, and many other such variables. The policies they follow, the brand they wish to establish are all elements which determine a company’s work culture.

  Workaholic and workaholism are some words which have of late entered the professional vocabulary. And the phenomenon is something that has entered in the corporate culture, regardless of the policies, though obviously not in equal degrees.

  Firstly, it is necessary to understand the difference between a workaholic and someone who works extensively for long hours.

  A workaholic is a person with a compulsive need to work. Simply put, he or she just cannot “switch off”. Even when not working, this person can only think about work and work-related things. Personal relationships and health often suffer because of this compulsion.

  On the other hand, someone might work for extremely long hours. But if he or she is able to disconnect and not constantly think about work when not on the job, we can’t consider this person a workaholic.

Even if one loves the job, it is necessary to cut off for some time.

We must realise that the blame should not be put on the person concerned.

  Over the years, the corporate culture has shaped up in a certain way.

  Firstly, with technology becoming mainstream and almost a necessity, it has become easier to “carry” work around. One can just open up a laptop and do what they were doing in the office. This way, it becomes difficult to “switch off” since work and work-related things are literally within an arm’s reach and just a few clicks away, anytime.

 Coupled with this, imagine the need we are constantly force-fed with: the need to be productive.

Not just of the corporate culture, but a general characteristic of our times is the need to constantly “do” something.

Anything that doesn’t give you stress and workload gets considered useless.

“What’s the point of working if you are not busy all the time?” seems to be the misleading policy so many live by.

It is necessary to remember that a busy worker is not necessarily a productive worker.

Long working hours are not to be equated with productive working hours.

   20th century saw the rise of the workaholic culture, with more and more people acting like “working machines”. And these were the role models the 21st century generations have access to. The rise in social media addictions did not work very well into the mix. Add to it, the success which could be “seen” sells on social media. And unfortunately, “the grind” has become a tangible marker of such a success, and also the only road to success.

  Bad health, personal relationships suffering are only considered as part and parcel of this grind, or worse, mere obstacles to “success”.

In such a milieu, it is a tough job to not become a workaholic.

   It is a good sign that many countries, especially the European ones are now reducing the work hours of employees to ensure there is a work-life balance, Denmark being a famous example. According to the OECD Better Life report, they have a better work-life balance than any country, with majority of workers spending two thirds of their day in eating, sleeping and indulging in leisurely pursuits.

   It is necessary that companies take steps to bring changes in the corporate culture to ensure overall well-being of employees.

  The image of a “driven and ambitious” person, motivated to rise to the top of the corporate ladder, with all the focus in the world on the job, no matter what may come, actually comes with its costs and risks. The crisp formal attire, might hide cardiovascular and stress-induced chronic ailments.

Behind the calm, confident, controlled expressions on the face may lie missed birthday parties and parent-teacher meetings, unresolved issues with a loved one, half-hearted family outings with the mind being at work, exasperated by the “waste of time”.