‘Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living’, as the old Dolly Parton song goes.
However, in the UAE it’s more like 9 to 6, which provides one extra hour of opportunity for getting tired and stressed. And like all dubious things in life, such as fast-food and lying in the sun, some people get a taste for stress. Yet you don’t have to buy into this mindset. Just a few little tweaks can make you more relaxed, without compromising your productivity or wellbeing.
Adam Zargar, owner and Lead Coach at UAE Coaching, believes that social media is our biggest energy drainer, explaining: “We actually may be aware of this problem, yet it becomes almost like an addiction and a difficult habit to break. Most of us wake up and instantly reach out for our phone to either check social media or emails. To combat this urge, be focused. When at work give it 100% focus, and the same at home. Imagine your child wants to show you something, yet you are doing work at home or are on the phone and miss the opportunity. Quality time with the people you love is vital, so set a time limit for social media, and stick to it.”
Nehad Tadros, UAE Chapter President at International Coach Federation, agrees that our phones are one of the top time stealers and distractions, but also feels that our emotions deplete us too: “We are all driven by our emotions. Emotion is energy in motion. Emotions can drain us, or they can generate more energy within us. I believe we need to coach ourselves and do more self-reflection to spot the areas that we need to focus on. Observe yourself and do regular self-checks to see where your time is going. The more you manage and plan your time, the more you can limit distractions and time wasters.”
Alex Eliseev, working dad, also agrees that surfing the web and social networks is a waste of time and energy, adding: “You’ll never miss something really ‘important’ – if you do, you’d be called immediately, be it work-related or family-related. When at work, concentrate solely on that; when at home, put all work aside and forget about it. Everything can wait. I know of only one recipe for balancing the needs of job and children – proper planning and scheduling in advance. Otherwise it becomes a total mess.”
Bhavna Tahilramani, a working mum and managing partner at Lime Concepts, believes, like Nehad Tadros, that emotions are at the root of the problem: “I think the biggest energy drainer is guilt. Working mothers tend to feel guilty about not being able to give enough time to family. That is why I rely a lot on my ‘support team’ – the cook, nanny, and my office team. I depend on them and delegate everything. I only do things that I have to or want to. I prioritise, and this helps me feel like I have some kind of balance in my life. For instance, I like to put my daughter to bed, it’s my priority and I rarely miss it.”