Each season of life offers lessons and insights that open up new pathways to find your unique work-life harmony in the present. Between unexpected challenges, changing preferences, and life’s ups and downs, we are all in a consistent process of finding a fresh way forward.
However, there’s often a common misunderstanding in how we define work-life balance and work-life harmony, and they get confused as the same concept. To clarify, work-life balance is how people manage the time they dedicate to work and the time they spend on other activities. Work-life harmony involves incorporating work into the rest of your life in a way that promotes happiness both at home and in the office.
To put it another way, work-life harmony is the art of balancing all areas of life, and how you manage the energy between them to create the most fulfilling, supportive approach possible in the day to day. Each day offers new challenges and joys, and not always in a balanced way. So, the best way to empower yourself is to look at key areas, and build clear approaches that fit best with your desires and needs.
Here is a quick glimpse of the key areas in the Wheel of Life that make up work-life harmony to clarify what might be missing or out of sync:
Clarify Supportive Work Life Habits and Release Outdated Ones to Create Harmony
One of the biggest ways to improve work-life harmony is to clearly see where your time is going, and if it’s spent in areas that are of value to you and your desired lifestyle.
A few facts on the ways people typically spend their attention and energy to demonstrate a basic picture of how time and focus can be used more effectively – and joyfully.
- 28% of workers start their day before 8:30 a.m. (and 5% begin before 7 a.m.)
- 26% of work is done outside of regular working hours
- 40.1% of our day is spent multitasking with communication tools
- On average, people check email and instant messaging every 6 minutes
Fatigue, overwork, technology distractions, losing time and focus due to multitasking, and general time mismanagement have become pretty common trends in the last few years. Yet, the “creep” of these challenges creates a disruption slowly and frequently enough that we may not even notice the erosion of our work-life harmony. This insight clearly highlights how essential it can be to monitor how our environment, circumstances, and personal reactions impact our quality of life over time – and the individual roadblocks left behind.
Individual Roadblocks and Creating Workable Solutions
Some of the biggest roadblocks to work-life harmony relate to the “how” of creating a unique balance that will work for you as an individual. Then, once those elements are clear for you, communicate that insight to others effectively while drawing boundaries to stand firm in what you need for work-life harmony to flourish on an individual level.
Employees and teams often struggle with these challenges when attempting to put work- life harmony into an active plan. Do they sound familiar?
- Challenge with communicating clearly and confidently
- Uncertain what to say, how, and fear around the ways it will be perceived
- Lack of confidence around how to change self-induced bad habits
- Force an approach that is no longer working for you or your team
- Disconnect in understanding the dynamics of people, how to work within clear boundaries on both sides of the fence, as well as communicate and reinforce boundaries in an ongoing way
- Ways to reframe a situation to support what you need in terms of boundaries, requirements and preferences
Make no mistake – your boundaries will be challenged! We are only human after all, and trying our best to learn about and from each other as we change and grow.
A few tips to create workable solutions:
- The clearer you can be and communicate simply and neutrally with others, the better
- Ask questions to get clear on what others need from you, and do your best to understand where they are coming from personally and professionally
- Don’t over explain when you say no to what does not align with your work-life harmony
- Create a new “common acknowledgement agreement” after moving through a crisis point to reestablish a common ground and a fresh way of working with one another
- Consistently revisit the “Wheel of Life” and understand if your time management approach is still serving you
- Create a dedicated workspace that is comfortable and supports the way you work
- Establish a clear routine around work, downtime, creativity, connection with family, friends and co-workers
Last but not least – open up to the harmony in everyday life by doing your best to be present, set priorities, and enjoy what you do. When something seems off or out of balance for a while, time to review and reset, while expressing gratitude for what you have learned.
Remember, work-life harmony is 100% about you and what you need personally, as well as how and where you invest your energy to create a more fulfilling life. When you align your passion with your profession you are unstoppable. However, you are also in charge of how much energy and time you want to invest in something, and if it will bring about the work-life harmony you desire in alignment with your work and life goals.
Ready to Take the Next Step?!
At Willow North we stand by our mission – Make Work-Life Better. We know that great leaders are a magnet for top talent. Our leadership and sales trainings target specific challenges your leaders are faced with at every level of leadership. So if your people are just starting out, leading from the middle, or running a global organization we have a training program that will accelerate results for your organization. Explore our leadership programs, sales programs, or schedule a discovery call for help with finding the right choice for you and your organization.