Work/life balance is one of the ultimate business goals; to have a balance between your work and life outside of work.
It’s an ultimate goal because it’s assumed that work/life balance gives us fulfilment or happiness. Who doesn’t want that?!
But work/life balance is a myth, it doesn’t exist.
Why? Because it’s impossible to have balance – “even distribution or a steady position” – all of the time between work and life outside of work.
You may be at a four-day conference with work so your work focus is more of a priority than your focus on family, your community, hobbies and possibly even on your health.
Or you may be on a two week family holiday so your focus on family is more of a priority than your focus on work.
Balance in the important areas of your life for a day, a week or maybe even a month may be possible but it isn’t possible to maintain because one area of your life at any given time will take your focus and your energy.
By the way, flogging yourself for nearly 3 months and then taking two weeks off each quarter isn’t work/life balance. That’s a fast track to burnout.
The biggest problem with work/life balance is it’s a trap because the more you strive for work/life balance the further away satisfaction and happiness will be.
So how can you get balance? Change the word balance to harmony.
Harmony means being in a state of agreement which provides a consistent whole.
In plain English, that means having the important areas of your life in agreement to provide a happy and fulfilled you.
The agreement is that balance cannot be maintained and that all areas of your life will get enough of your energy over a period of time to make you happy and fulfilled in each area of your life.
Even if you have unbalanced focus in your life, like being on a four-day work conference or being on a two week family holiday, you can still have harmony.
The two essentials for harmony are awareness of where your energy is currently focused and making an agreement with yourself, your family or team, that you will focus your energy on a different area of your life within an agreed period of time.
So after a 4-day work conference, you may spend extra time with your family. And at the conference, you may hit the gym each day before it starts.
Take the pressure off
Work/life balance is talked about a lot and it’s a big goal and you’ve most likely put pressure on yourself to achieve it because you want to feel happy and fulfilled.
The pressure is then multiplied by working harder and harder to achieve something that doesn’t exist. I know I felt a big weight on my shoulders striving for work/life balance before I realised it wasn’t real.
So lighten the load, give yourself a break and get harmony in the important areas of your life. For me, that’s health, family, work, education, social and community.
What does harmony look like for you?