If there is one thing I have learned since my daughter’s birth it is this: The concept of work-life balance is a myth. Finding and sustaining balance between work and family life is nearly impossible. Don’t agree? Stick with me here.
bal-ance (noun). (1) An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady, (2) a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
The very definition of balance assumes both work and family life are weighted equally. True happiness is only achieved when both elements have equal distribution. A crazy month with my new business means too many missed bedtime stories. My daughter’s back-to-back colds mean missing work and falling behind. The scales too easily tip out of balance. See ya later happiness.
For the better part of the last year I struggled with finding the right balance between starting Little Nugget and spending time with family. My life felt forced into silos—work is work and life is life— when, in fact, my work-life and my family-life are completely intertwined. I need both to feel fulfilled, but I also struggled to find balance between the two. Balance just wasn’t working for me.
My husband [and unofficial therapist] opened my eyes to the idea of finding harmony. As a consultant who travels 75% of the month, his scale between work and life is perpetually out of balance. Consider the definition of harmony:
har-mo-ny (noun). (1) The quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole. (2) Agreement or concord.
Harmony allows life and work to blend together in a combination unique to an individual. Harmony allows my criteria for fulfillment and happiness to be fluid. The concept forces me to keep focused on what is most important in my life. As a result, it turned around my feeling of contentment.
My definition of harmony is completely different from yours, but here are some strategies that helped me find harmony in my life.
- Set your non-negotiables. Take a look at the things that make you the most content. Those are your non-negotiables. Share your non-negotiables with your boss, coworkers, and family. Make a plan to reliably structure them into your life. My non-negotiables are (1) a workout at least twice a week, (2) family snuggle time in the morning, and (3) at least an hour with my daughter one-on-one each day before we begin the dinnertime/bedtime routine. That all requires me to end work a little earlier, so I jump back online after bedtime to wrap up loose ends.
- Focus on quality. Quantity of time is important, but what is more important is the quality of that time. Be present. Stop worrying about what you are not doing and live in the present. Your joy and satisfaction will thank you. When at work, I’m 100% focused in that task at hand. When I’m with my husband and daughter, my phone is off and I soak in every little moment and giggle.
- Get your family’s support. I’m a firm believer that behind every strong woman is an even stronger support system. Without an incredibly supportive husband and family, I would have never taken the leap to start Little Nugget. They know me best. They are my reality check, my confidence boost, and my biggest cheerleaders.
- Lean on your #squad. Get your girlfriends behind you. They are your sanity and best source to refuel. There is nothing better than a good friend with a pizza, bottle of wine, and latest episode of the Bachelor.
- Define your harmony. It’s 100% okay if your harmony looks a lot different from someone else’s. In fact, it should. Take a look at your beliefs, values, and what is most important to you in your life. Consciously make changes to structure your life around those things.
Finding work-life harmony hasn’t been easy. I’m a mother, wife, friend and an entrepreneur in search of the harmony across all aspects of my life. It’s a trial and error process that requires constant adjustments. But so far, the concept is working for me.