4 Tips for the New Work Life Balance with Synergy & Harmony ?
The proverbial and elusive work life balance is often a goal of many leaders like you, those who are striving to excel and progress in their career and also succeed in their personal roles such as parent, partner, sibling, adult child, spouse, friend, volunteer, sports coach, etc. The term ‘balance’ conjures up an image of a scale where there is balance – 2 things in perfect balance or balance within a range but neither side of the scale being fully or fully down.
This balance is elusive and therefore rarely achievable; a more suitable goal may be “Work Life Synergy” or “Work Life Harmony”.
The Oxford dictionary defines synergy as:
“The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
The Oxford dictionary defines harmony as:
“The quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole. The state of being in agreement or concord.”
I will leave the semantics and choice of “synergy” or “harmony” to your preference. Maybe the new term or goal that we will all strive for is “synergistic work & personal life harmony”! Maybe the employment and human resources sector will move from chasing ‘work life balance’ and start to use this new term
Seeking this harmony or synergy between our work and personal life is important to both our personal health (mental, spiritual and physical) and also to our work performance. This harmony is needed for us to be able to perform at our best in all of our roles.
1. Goals & Priorities
- Many of us set work performance goals on an annual basis but it is also important to set personal life goals.
- These goals will help you to identify your priorities and to maintain a positive attitude.
- It is OK for a personal goal to be take a nap on Saturday afternoons…it does not have to be a big goal, just something that is important to you.
- Gaining an appreciation and understanding of ourselves can be challenging but it is very important.
- Self-awareness will help you to know when you are moving towards your ideal state of work and personal life harmony or synergy.
Story: In a recent conversation with a client we discussed the power of yoga and although I have tried yoga but not yet realized the benefits she has found it to be a transformative experience. Her yoga practice has allowed her to become more self-aware and this has contributed to improved personal, academic and professional relationships.
3. Say No and Don’t Feel Guilty
- It is important to be able to say “No” appropriately and #1 and #2 above must be accomplished first in order to be able to say “No” without guilt.
- With good goals and priorities set and a strong level of self-awareness you will be able to avoid taking on too much (i.e. saying No).
Story: I was recently considering being the Vice Chair of a Board that I am on and although the ‘old’ me would have jumped at the opportunity the new me carefully considered my priorities, my goals with volunteering, and my business needs and I realized that I would not be able to do a great job in the Vice Chair role without potentially compromising my new business goals. I therefore said “No” to the opportunity with no guilt.
4. Use Technology as your “Strategic Alliance”
- This point becomes easier once #1, #2 and #3 are achieved.
- The proliferation of handheld devices and the social expectation to be connected and accessible is challenging.
- Many workplaces and loved ones may expect you to be accessible and ‘on’ 24 hours a day – often with the caveat “in case of emergency”.
Story: For the last 5 years that I worked in the corporate sector, I was accessible by phone, text, BBM and e-mail 24/7, and in that time I had one emergency that came up – that is one occurrence in 43,800 hours of my life. But I was ‘on’, connected and ready just in case for those 43,800 hours! I am not sure I would consider that a professional or personal accomplishment. I have never really thought of what I lost or what opportunities I may have missed during those ‘on’ hours. Based on your priorities and what you need to be and feel successful, use technology as your ‘strategic alliance’ (see last week’s blog).
Achieving this ‘synergistic harmony’ between our professional and personal life is not easy; it takes focus and time. My goal is to have my passion be my work and my work be my passion. Hopefully through this blog and my brief stories as examples you will be able to find some time to take the 4 tips above and have them contribute to you achieving your synergistic harmony. As always, if I can be of support please leave a comment or contact me directly.