Are you looking to spend more time being a devoted spouse, a caring and nurturing parent, a committed business professional or entrepreneur? How about finding the time to play an active role in your social life or be attentive in your role as a daughter, son, sibling, aunt, uncle, friend, community volunteer, church goer, and coach or team member? And that's not even the full scope of what some of us do in our lives.
The very definition of balance is an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. Think about that for a minute. When I equate that to how each of us try to find that perfect balance of time between our personal and professional lives, it seems quite daunting. It brings to mind images of a tight rope walker nervously attempting to balance themselves, while holding an obscure object, on a very thin rope and slowly moving from one side of the rope to the other.
At some point we might find the right formula or mix that allows us to achieve balance, but for how long. Our lives shift in and out of balance all the time. The requirement of our time and focus depends largely on our circumstances at any given time or season in our life, causing us to focus on one area of our life more than another. That's just how life works. I've come to realize that seeking "balance" in my life only leaves me frustrated when I can't consistently maintain it. So, what's the answer to this age old question? How does one maintain balance? Well, I've decided to fire "balance" and hire "harmony"! I know what you're thinking, "what exactly does that mean and how is that going to help me?” Let me share my perspective.
It wasn't until last year that I heard something that changed the way I thought about how I operate in the various focuses of my life - work-life harmony. Knowing that the definition of harmony meant a pleasing combination or arrangement of different things, I was intrigued and wanted to find out more. After asking questions and doing a bit more research on this new term, I had a light bulb moment! Instead of trying to equally distribute the same amount of time in all areas of my life and quickly failing, I could now find ways
that both my personal and professional life could be harmonious, intertwined without fighting against one another.
Harmony gives you the permission to live out your life and focus on the areas that are important and to re-distribute your time and energy as needed. It's about finding ways to bring your life roles together without having to struggle to find equal time for each of them. When you go to work you don't stop being a spouse, parent, sibling, friend, etc.. No, your focus is just more attentive in that work role at that specific time.
Harmony is going to look different for everyone and you have to find what works for you. Here are a few things that may help you find your work-life harmony mix.
Get past the guilt. It's very common to feel a sense of guilt when you realize that your “balance” or focus needs to be adjusted. Forgive yourself and move forward. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a mound of guilt. You're not alone and you're in recovery.
Weigh the risks. What are the risks of not having harmony in your life? Are they worth the cost you will pay? Identify the areas of your life that need to be in harmony. This means that you need to take a close look at your life and find out where your focus is currently. It might require you to examine the "why" behind some of things you have on your plate. Once you're clear about where your focus is, ask yourself where your focus needs to be. Where might you need to focus your attention (family, work, personal care, vision, etc.). Write it down; it will help you see it more clearly.
De-compartmentalize your life. We have a tendency to place the various areas of our lives in separate compartments, when really we operate in most of areas consistently. Making each area separate is a struggle and can create another layer of complexity or frustration when you run out of compartments.
Create healthy boundaries. Putting intentional boundaries in place will help you protect your time and allow you to focus on the most important priorities in your life.
Implement rituals. Identify and implement consistent ways that you can operate harmoniously in both your personal and professional life. This is going to be a work in progress. A few of the things you try may not work, but don't give up; try something different. The key here is to be consistent.
What are some ways you're finding harmony in your life?