I prefer to call it work-life harmony as opposed to work-life balance.
Balance is not about splitting time equally as the phrase ‘work-life balance' can sometimes suggest. It's about finding the ‘right' balance (or harmony) to ensure you feel content and fulfilled in all aspects of your life and have the flexibility to re-prioritise based on changing demands and needs.
I talk to many people who tell me they feel guilty they don't spend enough time at home or they miss their child's bedtime too often. Others say the business has taken a backseat as they've had to deal with family matters of late.
It isn't about feeling guilty, it's about acceptance of changing circumstances and understanding that this ‘harmony' is not an achievement, it's an evolution.
For me, being truly present and able to contribute your best wherever you are is most important. The key to that is understanding when you are at your best and what you need to do to make that happen.
When thinking about this, take into account your work life, your home life, your hobbies, your friendships. Here are some key areas to consider:
- Health & wellbeing: like they say on the aeroplanes ‘please put your own mask on before you help anyone else'. If you are not taking care of yourself, you cannot be at your best or in the best position to support those around you. Prioritising your own health and wellbeing is not selfish, it is of vital importance so prioritise accordingly.
- Rest: are you well rested and able to show up and give the best version of yourself? No one wants the tired and cranky version of you. We all know that you need to work hard to be successful but burn out or sleep deprivation rarely leads to success. Sleep is also the best way to support your immune system and boost productivity.
- Accept your feelings: try to understand why you feel the way you do. Whether you are experiencing guilt, joy, resentment or satisfaction, try to determine the reason for this so that you can use it as a guide for your decisions and priorities. It's not about beating yourself up, it's about acceptance and evolution.
- Understand your ‘why': if you have a strong personal purpose, this can really help you when something is causing you stress or unhappiness. Knowing why you do what you do and what makes you feel fulfilled is important. You can then assess how well your current situation supports your purpose.
- Make changes: if you have some thoughts or answers, consider what you could do next. Will you; book some annual leave, reprioritise, say ‘no' to the commitment that doesn't serve a purpose in favour of rest, say ‘yes' to the friend you've not seen in ages, delegate more at work, have a significant change in direction?
If this still feels impossible or you'd like someone to help you be accountable for your changes, please get in touch.
Don't just succeed, thrive!