Anyone who believes that long hours and a slavish commitment are essential to career success needs to think again. As expert speakers will point out in a Career Building Seminar organised by Classified Post on June 9, everyone must find their own path, but the common link is that people with a proper work-life balance achieve more.
According to Betty Leong, general manager of investment property at MTR Corporation, one of the secrets to success is to remember that work is just one part of our lives. It is important to recognise that social interaction, time with family, and the need for exercise and physical well-being are not optional extras.
Rather, they are essential to leading the sort of healthy, well-rounded existence that points the way to long-term happiness and genuine self-fulfilment.
We should differentiate, Leong says, between the personal and the professional. By doing so, it becomes much easier to create a proper work-life balance, allowing time for different priorities and developing the attitude that work can also be "fun".
"The starting point is to calm down, take a breather and think things through," Leong says. "Human beings have [to consider] the body and soul, and think about social and physical needs, as well as work."
Winnie Chiu, a senior consultant at Right Management and a speaker at the event, emphasises that success depends on keeping things in harmony. This means realising where we can make choices, and understand the consequences of our decisions.
"If we don't have a good work-life balance, it soon affects our mental side and can easily lead to stress and burnout," she says. "Therefore, it is important to take steps to develop the right perspective and allow positive energy to flow through everything."
It might still be common for people in Hong Kong to think that the harder they work, the bigger their "share of the pie". This attitude is not just fundamentally mistaken, it also creates an imbalance that adversely affects home life, health and one's broader sense of well-being.
Chiu says there are plenty of ways to avoid such problems. The solutions involve building an awareness of our "real self", clarifying values, and developing personal rules to help re-order priorities. These make it possible to change work patterns, habits, expectations, and how we interact.
"What I want to drive home is the need to remember that we have different roles in life," Chiu says. "We have to balance these and make sure we spend more of our time doing the `right' things if we want to find both success and inner calm."
Other topics and ideas
Setting a target for each day in order to accomplish more
Taking time to evaluate priorities and plan effectively
Making a distinction between what's urgent and what's important
Realising that everyone needs a personalised system of rules and reminders
Keeping one's mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects in balance