Are You Living To Work Or Working To Live?

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

You should keep your priorities clear and balance work and your day-to-day lifeEver since industrialization and the onset of modern times, a pertinent question troubling millions of people in the world is whether we are living to work or working to live. Like the live to eat or eat to live paradox, this has also become a question that demands some serious soul searching and changing of undesirable old habits. Striking a balance between life and work is not just very important but quintessential to lead a proper life, let aside a happy and satiating life.

Unhappy couples, divorces, broken homes, depressed adults, unguided children, neural problems and unhealthy lives are all a result of living to work and not working to live. The easiest way to maintain a balance between life and work is to master three arts – know when to stop, learn to say no and make an attempt to have a life. The counters of these arts are actually what disrupts the life work balance or prevent one from seeking one. People simply do not know or actually are helpless and cannot turn off the laptop, switch off the messenger and plug off from work. There would always be demands of more work, requests from bosses and colleagues and commitments at workplace to live up to but one must learn to say no. Finally, without making an effort nothing can be achieved. Simply turning the plug off from work will not ensure a happy life. One has to make attempts to do finer things that make him or her happy and one should indulge in what the family and friends want them to.

What Is Your Focus

While mastering the three arts would take some time and you cannot just wake up and decide to do it, here is the first step that you must take. Decide ‘what is your focus’!

We all have priorities and as you prioritize your work, you should also prioritize your home and family. Make a list of the things you like doing, the things your wife, kids, friends or parents would love doing with you and also understand what you should be ideally doing to lead a fruitful and satiating life. When you get the list made, these are things that should also be your focus along with the anticipated appraisal or the new job, generating more revenues and pleasing your boss or clients.

Keep Priorities with How You Spend Time

How you spend time would be the defining factor in your quest. Even after you have your list to focus on it would be difficult for you to do all those things unless you plan how you spend time. Create a logbook, set reminders, do not have over commitments and free up as much time as you can beyond work.

© Copyright 2013 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

You should keep your priorities clear and balance work and your day-to-day life
5 - "Dr. Lam,"
Dr. Lam,

I am sitting here crying while reading your message. I have searched for years for an answer because I am somewhat young but feel like I`m 90 years old. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was probably not going to live very much longer, and so I`ve been getting my affairs in order for my children. This is the first time I have had hope that all of the damage could possibly be reversed. Thank you again so much.

1 Comment

  • Jen says:

    Thank you so much Dr Lam I find this article to really touch me and I appreciate everything that you are doing and how you are able to reach out to so many people.