Maintaining work life balance is probably one of the most challenging goal for every employed person. For software developers, this is even more difficult due to irregular work schedules, unrealistic planning by project managers and unforeseen bugs ahead of a deadline. We are all more or less familiar with such situations.
When I started my career twelve years back, this didn’t seem to be a problem. At least I didn’t notice anything. This was mainly due to my eagerness to learn relevant technologies and to prove myself as a valuable, dependable and dedicated team member. Another reason was that I was unmarried at that time. So, the urge for returning home early was not felt much!
However, as time passed my enthusiasm began to die down. By that time I had learnt almost every technology and frameworks being used in my project. So, there was actually no need for staying long hours in the office as I became more efficient and performed my tasks much faster. However, there was unproductive works which kept me in the office for extended hours anyway.
Things got worse after I got married. Probably for the first time I felt the need for balancing work and personal life. It was difficult. At that time my goal was not to let those two worlds overlap and impact one another. As if they were two different worlds. In order to enter a world I have to forget about the other one. I didn’t want to bring my office work to home. I also didn’t want to bring my personal problems to office. Somehow I thought each one of them will bring negative impact on the other.
However, I was wrong. Life does not work that way. What I have learnt during last 12 years as a full time software developer is that it is better not to try to separate work and personal life as two separate worlds. If you consider them as two aspects of an integral goal of achieving a better life, your life will be a lot easier.
You should prioritise based on circumstances. For example, when a project delivery deadline is nearing you should spend more time on your project work. However, when work pressure in office is less you should leave office early and spend more time with your family and friends. You can even work from home sometimes as we are now in a connected world where everything is accessible from anywhere.
For me, family is the top priority. So, if there is any family emergency, I will attend to that first. After attending the emergency I would stay late in the office for that day. One thing you should remember; you can’t neglect any one of them as both are important in your life. But you must learn to prioritize. Prioritizing effectively is the key to maintaining balance and success in your life. Please let me know your views and experiences in the comments.