I cringe when I hear women saying they are striving for a work/life balance. I don't cringe because of their goal, I cringe because I know it is not possible and I hate seeing a sister set herself up for repeated failure. What is balance anyway? How do we measure it? Equal hours on equal priorities? All buckets equally filled? Do you assess balance by the day? the week? the year? I have another idea. What if, instead of balance you sought harmony? The web definition is: a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts
There will be seasons when you choose to work late, travel more than usual, take calls on the weekend. Balance disrupted.
There will be seasons when you skate by at work and take care of a sick child, an aging parent, a fragile marriage. Balance disrupted.
There will be seasons when you are inspired more in one area of your life than another. Balance disrupted.
There will be seasons when you are seeking a promotion, building a business, shifting careers and there will be fewer hours for your home life. Balance disrupted.
There will be seasons when you are nearing burnout and so you pull back at work and indulge more in your home life, your family, your rest. Balance disrupted.
But, what if none of these scenarios were a problem? Unless... you are striving for the illusion of balance. So, let's explore this idea of harmony?
Achieving work-life harmony means reassessing how you integrate your work and personal life. They are not in competition with each other. Ideally, they coexist. Here are some ideas to practice creating harmony.
Be Present: When you’re working, be fully engaged with your tasks and activities. Then, when you end your work day shift your attention and fully engage in your personal life. Sometimes your work day will end at 3pm and other days at 8pm. That does not mean you can't find harmony. No judging.
Set Priorities: Establish goals and priorities for your professional and personal lives. This will help you focus on the tasks that give you satisfaction, happiness, and a sense of accomplishment. Are you focussing on what is most essential in both areas of your life or are you chasing a to do list? Are you aware of which season you are in and which area may get more attention? Are you intentional with your days and weeks or are you holding on my your fingernails as the days whip by? Not harmony.
Enjoy What You Do: Harmony is harder to achieve when there are areas of your life that aren't working. When you are not passionate about your work, or your home life is contentious or lonely harmony will seem out of reach. Or, you may knowingly ignore some part of your life to avoid what isn't working. This is a fast track to disharmony.
Come back tomorrow and I will share some practical tips to work toward harmony.
Your harmony seeking coach,
P.S. If this is an area of your life where you'd like to do some exploring, let's talk. I have worked with many women who have gone from playing whack a mole to letting their lives be a bit more of a dance - moving in and out of roles with intention and not reaction. They have stopped trying to create equality among all their roles. Instead, they have learned to tap into where they are in life right now and where they want to invest their time. Talk about harmony and freedom!