When it comes to your working life and your personal life, are you striving for balance far too much?
In my experience, far too many of us reach for this idealized version of “balance” that, in my opinion, doesn’t actually exist. After all, if you’ve heard me say it once, there’s a definite chance that I’ll say it again (right here, right now): Balance is bogus, Friends!
The real secret to finding that sweet spot between all facets of life, whether you’re someone that works full or part-time, in or out of the home, or if you’re someone whose job is to see that the house, the kids, and everything in between is taken care of is not at all tied to this idea of balance.
Rather, what it all comes down to is finding harmony. Period!
When we focus on devoting an equal amount of our time each day between the different roles that we play in life we wind up trying to cover too many bases at once. We try to prioritize and tend to too many things… and what that does is lead to feelings of overwhelm, burnout, procrastination, analysis paralysis, and so. much. more.
And while we’re focusing on how we can push beyond any feelings of discomfort, pain, or uneasiness that having too many irons in the fire at once can bring about on Episode 135 of Productivity Paradox this week, I want to really dig into the idea of what it truly means to prioritize…
Because, here’s the thing: When it comes to finding harmony—real harmony—among the different roles we play each and every day, learning how to dial in on our values and learning how to prioritize effectively is KEY.
So, now my only question for you is: Are you ready to get started on finding that sweet, harmonious spot between YOUR work and personal life?
Let’s take a peek at how it’s done!
If you’re someone that wants to work less and focus on your family, friends, or yourself more, for example, but constantly find yourself working long hours, on the weekend, or aimlessly bouncing from one work-related task to the next without any clear end in sight… then chances are you need to take a step back and give yourself time to reassess the things that you truly value most.
In the fast-paced world that we live in today, it’s become more and more common that those of us in the working world feel pressured to keep going, keep moving, and to keep busy just for the sake of keeping busy!
And when you’re someone who holds down a day job but also wants to find time to focus on parts of yourself and your life that exist outside of that scope, then all that this perpetual busyness does is become a problem—fast.
So, where do we start? Take a peek at your calendar and see where you’re spending the majority of your time.
Ask yourself: Is there a reason that I’m working past 6:00 when I promised my spouse, for example, that I would be home in time for dinner at 5:30? What might be hindering you from following through on your efforts to be home on time so that you can lend a little more of your attention to your personal life?
The answer here is simple: When you’ve become out of touch with what you value most at your core, your calendar—your time, your energy, your focus, and so on—reflects that.
And if this sounds true for you, then don’t fret!
For some extra help on getting to the bottom of your core values—especially if you find that your time is being ill spent in one area over another, then refer back to Episode 058 for a crash course!
If you want to change the way you prioritize, then it’s important that you first give yourself the grace to focus a little bit of your time and energy on yourself, too. And this is true no matter what you have going on at work, at home, or otherwise!
The old adage rings true here: You can’t pour from an empty cup. But beyond that, it becomes more and more challenging to get your priorities at work and at home straight when you don’t allow yourself the time you need to decompress.
So in that light, if you’re someone that needs a little boost when it comes to making yourself a priority in your life, then consider it granted: It’s perfectly OK to take some time out of your day, your week, month, year, and so on (however much you need!) to look inward and invest some of your energy on self-care.
Trust me, your work and your personal life will benefit from it!
When you find yourself constantly answering texts, emails, or phone calls from family members or friends while you’re on the clock at the office… or if you find that your work phone is seldom out of your reach when you’re at home with your loved ones, then it’s time to get back to basics.
If you want to give your prioritization practice a little boost, then one of the key ingredients to doing so effectively is to start practicing being present. In other words, when you’re at the office, allow yourself to fully be in the moment in that space!
And when you’re at home spending time with your partner, your kids, and other loved ones—or even if you’re just spending a quiet evening in by yourself, then allow yourself the same opportunity to completely unplug from your work life.
A few hard and fast rules that you could implement might include:
Whatever you can do to bring mindfulness to the table at home and at work, the better off you’ll be when it comes to finding the work-life harmony you crave!
Here’s the thing: Greg McKeown says it best, If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will. And this is true whether we’re talking about the schedule we keep at work, or whether we’re talking about the schedule we keep outside of work.
When it comes to your weekly schedule, the last thing you want to gain from it is a sense of dread or overwhelm. If you’ve got a lot on your plate—maybe too much penciled in at work, to the point where it’s detracting from the time you can spend at home or for yourself, or something else altogether, then it’s time to make some changes!
One of the best ways to get a handle on your priorities and to find the harmony you’re in need of is to take a step back and imagine what your ideal schedule might look like.
To take that one step further, I want to emphasize that by “ideal schedule”, I don’t mean making tiny changes with the hope that things will eventually fall into place… I’m talking a full-blown, mapped out version of how you REALLY want your life to look.
Even if your ideal week looks a little far fetched on paper (at first), don’t let that thwart your efforts to readdress the way in which you’re prioritizing your time.
Rather, let your ideal week be an indication of where in your schedule the changes we’re talking about might need to occur, and what they might look like…
The better handle you have on how you want your life to look, the easier it will be to implement the necessary changes in your work and personal life to make that ideal a reality.
And note: Compartmentalizing will be your best friend when you’re ready to dig in and revamp your week!
This one is pretty simple: Make yourself accountable for the changes you want to see in your life by asking your partner, family members, your BFF, or even a trusted co-worker (or all of the above!) to help you create and honor the boundaries you need in order to find the work-life harmony you’re searching for.
Whenever you’ve crossed a set boundary—say, when you’ve allowed yourself to stay at the office longer than you’ve planned, or if your work phone somehow finds its way to the dinner table despite your best efforts—make sure that you’re giving yourself some sort of consequence.
This consequence could come in the form of your co-worker asking you if you’re sure that working late is the best course of action to take, or your partner or family member removing your work phone from your reach as a gentle reminder to you of your commitment to change the way that you prioritize.
After all, some of the choices that we make are often made with little-to-no actual awareness on our part (especially if those choices have become routine, like bringing our work phone to the dinner table, for example).
The more accountability you can lend to yourself, your work-life boundaries, and your commitments, the easier it will be for you to stay the course on your new and improved priorities!
Have any great tips on finding harmony in your work and personal life? I would love to hear them! Feel free to share your tips & tricks and any experiences you have had seeking harmony between all of the different roles you play in your day-to-day in the comments below…
And if you’re in need of some support on how to push beyond pain when it comes to the obstacles or setbacks that life can sometimes bring, be sure to check out Episode 135 of the podcast for some insight!