I thought I believed in work-life balance. Well, I did until recently. Friend, city councilwoman, attorney, mother, wife and more Tameika Isaac Devine spoke to a group of women at work and that’s when it hit me – balance is impossible.
My schedule has been a constant juggling with my and my son’s schedule. We are both active. I have work, workouts, competitions, running and more. For him, there are school activities and sports.
It’s not a balancing act
According to Merriam Webster, balance is defined as stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis. Harmony is defined as a pleasing arrangement of parts.
And there is no such thing as balancing life. It’s not possible because it means that there’s a way to get them to be equal.
Instead of striving to achieve some false constant balance in your life, it is about arranging your life so that the different parts are in harmony with one another. The key difference is that achieving harmony means you can focus more on work sometimes and on your family at other times. There’s no reason to try to force everything to work at once.
It’s about getting to integration
It’s much easier to integrate different parts of your life together than to try and balance them. Think about it like a puzzle instead of a scale. When you work on it, the pieces of the puzzle fit together just right. Work-life balance is out and work-life harmony is in.
Here are eight tips to create a better work-life harmony
- Make a to do list and set priorities. I am a big proponent of lists, both written and electronic. For lists, break it into “Must Do”, “Should Do” and “Nice to Do” categories. Start with the “Must Do” items and then through the other categories. If you don’t make it to “Nice to Do” immediately it won’t kill you.
- Plan the work (and play) and work the plan. If you set aside dedicated time for your tasks you are more than likely to get them done.
- Limit time wasting activities such as social media and talking to friends. It’s not forever but when you need to get tasks done, focus on the tasks at hand. Don’t let social media or gossiping sidetrack you from the goal at hand.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. I am a big proponent of this one. The people you surround yourself with can either support you or drag you down.
- Overlap activities. Find ways that you can incorporate different things. For me, I use to run in the neighborhood where my son had football practice. It allowed him practice time and me some workout time. I also advise other parents who want to get a workout in to walk the perimeter of the field or court their child is playing on. You can see your child and support them at the same time.
- Unplug. Sometimes it is necessary to unplug from the web and from the phone. It can serve as an opportunity to rejuvenate and then some.
- Don’t compare your life to others. It’s hard with social media, but it important to remember what you see on social media is the best version of that moment.
- Keep a journal. A journal gives you the opportunity to write what you are grateful for and clear your mind of things.
Do you believe in work-life balance?