Balance is a lie.
There I said it - there is no such thing as work/life balance. Now hear me out…
There is no such thing as balance in this area because balance implies that things are equal. We think of this ⚖️ when we think balance. If you work a 40 hour a week job and sleep around 8 hours a night, that leaves you with 72 hours that should technically be for you, your family, etc. That’s not equal - it’s not balanced and most of you are probably thinking that can’t be right.
No way right? It never feels like you have that much time for you, but if I did the math right (no promises, that’s why I’m in PR) that’s what it comes out to.
What we aren’t accounting for is all of the little things that eat up our time: getting ready for the day, cooking dinner, getting the kids ready for school, putting the kids to bed. For most of us, by the time we are done for the day, we are left feeling exhausted and wonder where another day went.
Then the weekend comes and there are a million tasks to complete and we are left feeling like we never have any time for the things that matter to us. We need more work/life balance.
You need to find work/life harmony.
Harmony, as defined by Google Search, is the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.
Whoa…that feels different right?! “A pleasing and consistent whole” - that implies that you could be happy, on a regular basis and be your whole self. Not a work you, and a home you. What if you didn’t have to be one thing here and something different over there?
So how do you do that? How do you actually find that harmony?
Well I’m a work in progress, but I think I’ve come pretty far from where I started and it all starts with your mindset around this concept.
Instead of striving for balance, find harmony by being intentional with the time you have in a given area. When you are at work, be at work - be present and don’t let the distractions of life pull you away. Then when you are with your family or friends, be present there too - don’t check email and take work calls. By giving the important areas of your life focused attention, you’ll find that you get more done and don’t need to be distracted by other things. You’ll also find that you don’t need to give as much of yourself as you thought. For example, 15 minutes of undivided attention with your son or daughter is HUGE and often is all they really need.
Here are my tips for how to get started:
- Define your vertical alignment - what are your priorities and your non-negotiables in life.
- Look at where your time is spent and if it aligns with your priorities. For example, if you are volunteering for an organization that isn’t aligned, then stop doing that and focus your attention on something that does align. I’m not saying don’t volunteer, but do it somewhere that lights you up and aligns with the priorities in your life. By focusing your time in this way, you’ll have more energy to do ALL the things.
- Set boundaries - make sure your teams know your working hours and when you have time blocked for other priorities. We all have them and by setting your own boundaries you’ll give others the permission to do it as well. Be the example!
- Finally, make time to fill up your own cup! When you fill your cup you’ll have more to give and won’t feel so drained at the end of each day.
Go be great in all you do and do it with harmony!
Let your light shine!