You can achieve work-life balance (shudder!). Balance—the very word teeters on the heavy side of the guilt seesaw. So much is being said about work-life balance these days that we feel compelled to justify that we’re “in balance” lest we admit our lives are out of control or that we’re unhappy with the choices we’ve made. Let’s just ditch the word altogether. What’s important is that your life is in harmony.
What does a harmonious life look like? Who cares? I want to know: What does a harmonious life feel like… to you?
Remember, every person’s ideal harmonious life is unique to them. If cranking out projects late into the night, feeling like an accomplished parent while wearing your suit and heels, passing your significant other in the airport en route to different work trips, or entrepreneuring as a weekends-only warrior is what brings you pleasure, then you, my friend, are in harmony. We clearly can’t do everything at once and calendars often collide, but if you find happiness, for the most part, with the chaos that only you would understand, then don’t fix what’s not broken.
Work-lifebalance.com describes six components of balance:
- Self management
- Time management
- Stress management
- Change management
- Technology management
- Leisure management
Other experts describe the harmony as effectively merging family, work, friends, community participation, spirituality, and personal growth. Naïve sites claim that you only need to chose between work and children. Your life’s satisfaction will only come, however, from finding the space that fulfills you. That space may be different at various times of the day when you have different emotional needs and when you’re with different people. It will evolve as you age, learn new things, and it will vary with your fatigue level and changing goals.
A harmonious person seeks self-actualization. Kendra Cherry wrote a great piece about the characteristics of self-actualized people. She described how balanced people are grounded in realism, are motivated by solving problems, have frequent peak experiences, enjoy autonomy, solitude and privacy, have a sense of humor, and are spontaneous. This is a wonderful list. It has nothing to do with whether you choose to have children or not, whether you have a traditional job or are on the promotion track, whether you started a business in your 20’s, or are in the creative arts going long stretches without regular work.
Yes, work-life balance is about the harmony—so get going with your own version of success. Set lofty goals, whether they’re work related, personal, communal, or creative, and adjust your schedule to achieve them in the manner that provides the most support (from your spouse, family, partner, boss, students or yourself). Of course you can do it all, but what is your definition of “all”? Hopefully you know by now that your “all” is yours, and yours alone.
What do you think about the goal of “harmony” versus “work-life balance”? Have any tips on how to strive for either? Share with us in the comments!