Public-Relations consultant Aaron Tan knows what it's like to have too much on his plate.
With two young children to support, and a third on the way, the 24-year-old, the youngest of the 16 finalists in this year's My Paper Executive competition, recently found himself neglecting family to bring home the bacon.
He told My Paper: "I really wanted to excel in my career to give my family a better life, so I was very focused on my job. I didn't know how to balance work and life."
When his wife, a stay-at-home mum, brought up the matter, he realised he had some prioritising to do.
"I realised they need my attention, too. I do not want to have all the power and the money in the world, but go back to an empty house," he said.
He has since learnt to "segment" his time, he explained, and can comfortably balance his professional and personal lives. He dedicates his weekends to his family as much as he can, he said.
At a recent workshop on work-life harmony, Mr Tan affirmed that he's on the right track.
Conducted by Ms Yeo Miu Ean, chief success officer of Charistal, a consultancy that specialises in work-life matters, the almost three-hour-long session covered the different challenges young executives face when it comes to finding a balance between work and play.
At the beginning of the session, Ms Yeo, 50, asked each finalist to list down all the different roles they have in life. These include being a daughter, friend and employee, among others.
Being aware of one's various functions can help one focus on the things that are truly important, she said.
"Work-life integration is about exercising control and choice in meeting life's challenges," she said.
For busy executives like assistant manager Rebecca Sit, learning to say "no" could be the answer.
Ms Sit, 30, said: "I'm always saying 'yes' to a lot of things, even when I am already taking on a lot. I need to learn how to say 'no' to things that don't matter."
For Citibank banking executive Geraldine Goh, 26, the workshop was an ideal opportunity to pick up skills for the future.
"As we grow older and start our own families, it will be even more important to have work-life harmony," she said.
"Learning how to tackle different work situations, and how managers may interact with their staff, was helpful as well."
The 16 finalists of the competition, which aims to find Singapore's most-savvy executive, will compete for a grand prize of $10,000 next month. The first and second runners-up will take home $5,000 and $3,000 respectively.
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