If you were to take the phrase work-life balance literally, that would mean everything is even:
You’d get eight hours of sleep, work, and life each day, every day.
That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?!
That type of balance is probably never going to happen.
But let’s not blame “sleep” and “life” for this disappointing reality. Work’s usually the culprit in throwing off the balance.
Now, this imbalance doesn’t bother me. I don’t resent work for “scheming” against my life’s plans. After all, I’m an executive. I’m a pro. I’ve chosen my responsibilities, and I love the people I work with and the privilege to do the work I do.
I’ve long ago abandoned my quest for balance. Besides, I’ve got different, more realistic, aspirations.
I strive for harmony.
Harmony – to me – means that all aspects of my life come together and look/feel/sound great. It’s like the Beach Boys’ song “I Get Around.” You’re hearing it right now, right? The instruments? The voices? The lyrics. Everything just works together and creates incredible music.
So, if I’m taking a call while waiting for my son to wrap up with practice, I’m down with that. Or, when I write a blog on an early Saturday morning, I accept it. Or, when my husband makes an errand request during lunch, I’m on it. That’s a life in harmony!
Now, I’m not always in perfect harmony. But when I feel like I’m a little off, I turn to the actions and behaviors that help me get back to the place where everything feels good and doable.
Do you want those five harmonizing tips? I’ll share them!
I hope these ideas help you further define your relationship with work and help set some healthy expectations so you can find greater harmony with all you do. Here goes:
1. Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing What You’re Doing.
I’m a working mom. Both identities are significant and important to me. Reminding myself of my personal mission, vision, values, and goals remind me why I’m hustling harder on some days than others. This perspective helps me recognize and appreciate why I’m doing what I’m doing. If I understand my motivations, I can accept the days that just feel like they’re more challenging than others.
2. Manage Your Mind.
Or, in other words, pay real close attention to your thoughts, with a particular focus on the stories you tell yourself. I try not to tell myself that “I have to” do things. That makes me feel as if I’m at the mercy of life. I remind myself that “I get to” do things, which seems nuanced, but helps reinforce that I have autonomy and choice.
3. Commit to “positive energy.”
If I’m ever feeling weighed down, or start to feel overwhelmed by all that must get done, I pay real close attention to what I’m doing that day – if it’s going to fuel my mind, body, soul, or if it’s going to work against me. I get granular, too: I think about the food I eat, the music I listen to, and the exercise I’m doing. I believe that if we pay attention to renewing our energy, we’re in a position where our day-to-day experience is much more enhanced.
4. “Be” Where You’re At.
Quality time is always better than quantity time. Keeping this in mind, I believe what’s in front of me should get my uninterrupted attention and focus so that I’m at my best in the moments I’m in. I try – really try – never to multi-task. I feel someone inevitably gets cheated in this experience … most often me.
5. I know when “good enough” is “good enough.”
I’ll never bake cookies for a classroom party – store-bought cookies will always be better, anyway! I’ll never make the perfect meal for a potluck. There are some details my clients just don’t care about. Over time, I’ve learned to discern what needs to be near-perfect, and where good enough gets the job done.
I’d love to hear from you: what does harmony look like for you? What are some of your tools/tricks/rituals that allow you to feel good with all of your responsibilities?! Leave a comment or email me.