Work-Life Balance VS Work-Life Harmony
January 28, 2022 | Olaide Bakare, PHRi
Remember when we were all told that the key to success revolved around striking a balance between our personal and professional lives? This suggests, for most of us, that work is tipping the scales and we need to spend more time on other aspects of our personal lives and in some cases to ‘get a life’. The reality of today’s workplace, given the rise of remote and hybrid workplaces, makes it increasingly difficult to achieve this kind of balance. I mean, if we look at this as an actual scale, for most of us, work is going to significantly tip the scales based simply on the number of hours we spend working.
Work-life balance also suggests that we need to equally prioritize the demands of work and personal life, establishing clear boundaries and a designated schedule to attend to work matters and personal ones, but it is not always that simple. The truth is that many times, when you attempt to balance work and life, you split yourself down the middle, placing your “work self” on one side of the scale and your “real self” on the other. But this does not quite work because you are one human. And as one whole, complete human, you would ideally be the same person at work as you are outside of work. Trying to separate the two means acting inauthentically in at least one aspect.
This is why, lately, the world has been moving towards a new trend termed “work-life harmony”. Harmony is a pleasing arrangement of internal calm within yourself. Working in harmony is about feeling good about what you are doing, despite how busy you may be. In short, it is about integrating your personal life and the things you love into your busy work life!
Here are six ways to achieve work-life harmony, rather than work-life balance:
Stop Searching for Balance
Realize that work and life are not two different things that you can compartmentalize, these two must go hand in hand for you to be a success in your career and also have a happy personal life.
Hence, make it a point to integrate it together rather than considering these two as mutually exclusive. Also, focusing on harmony instead of balance takes the pressure off of attempting perfection and gives you permission to do what you need to do at every given moment.
Be Passionate About Your Work
One of the most effective ways to achieve a work life harmony is to really enjoy, or find a purpose, in what you do for a living. Even though not everyone is lucky enough to find a position that pays them for pursuing their passion, you can strive to find meaning in what you are already doing, or pursue something new entirely!
So, think about what you are doing now. Is it something that allows you to embrace your passion? If no, is there an area or industry that you see yourself exploring to experience fulfilment? When you are able to find meaning in your work, you are much closer to achieving work-life harmony.
To achieve work-life harmony, you need to be organized. Plan your day and guard your schedule to avoid distractions. You can do this by:
- Prioritizing your tasks and making to-do lists. You can use apps like Google Calendar, iCalendar or Asana to block out certain periods of time for important tasks, or simply use a sticky note to keep you alert of time spent on each task.
- Avoiding multi-tasking, as this would actually make you spend more time on each activity and reduce your productivity.
- Keeping work discussions concise.
Build Healthy Habits Around Your Work
Whether you are working in the office or remotely, you can build many healthy habits to support your work-life harmony. Some simple to implement ideas include:
- Taking your breaks every day. Ensure to move away from your workspace during breaks, as this will give your muscles and eyes a break.
- Eat nutritious foods. Generally, too much carbohydrates and fatty foods causes body fatigue.
- Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
- Look for ways to include incidental exercise in your work; take stairs instead of the lift, send your documents to a printer further away from your desk, walk to a colleague’s desk instead of sending them an email.
Know When To Delegate
If you spend a lot of time doing tasks on your own that could be delegated to others, whether at work or at home, you would be losing a lot of time that could otherwise be spent elsewhere. Further, while an overall goal may be meaningful, not all of the milestones or tasks needed to get there may be meaningful. That is because we have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Not every task is going to be enjoyable or easy to complete. This is where delegation comes in.
Delegation simply allows you to leverage time from an external source, thus giving you opportunities to increase your own productivity.
Ramp Up Your Coping Mechanisms
Obstacles and setbacks are a part of life but how we deal with them has a significant effect on our attitude as well as whether or not we are able to overcome them. While remaining positive or optimistic in all situations can be difficult, sometimes it is about finding one small, good thing in the tough moments that are out of our control.
A good example for me would be commuting to work through the crazy traffic on third mainland bridge every morning. I have come to terms with the fact that no amount of anger and grumble would make the traffic move faster or cause time to move slower. So, I have learnt to refocus my energy and bring back harmony by using that time to read my devotionals and listen to soul-lifting podcasts.
In conclusion, the whole idea of work-life harmony is about a shift in perspective – a deliberate reassessment of how work can be incorporated into other aspects of life in a way that promotes happiness both at home and in the office.