If you’re struggling to find the energy to accommodate all that demands your time, you’re not alone. In today’s fast paced world of constant communication and ever increasing technology, many are finding it ever more challenging to effectively juggle the demands of work and life.
Recent surveys concerning work/life harmony reveal some alarming statistics. Fifty percent of workers state they have less time for family and friends, 51% missed important life events, 68% experience poor morale, 57% state that technology has ruined the modern family dinner, and the United States ranks among the bottom 20% of countries in effective work/life harmony ˡ.
Despite this however, there are some habits we can embrace to invite harmony back into our lives.
Plan…..plan……oh and did I mention……plan
Time is finite. In the movie Holy Man, Eddie Murphy said it best, “Seventy-five years. That’s how much time you get if you’re lucky. Seventy-five Winters, 75 springtimes, 75 summers, and 75 autumns. When you look at it like that, it’s not a lot of time, is it?” Life is just too short to let time slip by. If you want better work/life harmony, then you’ve got to become more deliberate in how you choose to spend your time. Create a spreadsheet that outlines your current activities and the time you spend for each. Make changes as necessary and commit to following your new path. Doing so will help you more effectively prioritize and gain greater confidence that you are spending those 75 years more wisely.
Find the off button
Americans spend nearly half of their lives looking at screens, and 70% claim they immediately check their phones upon waking up ². Is it any wonder that we’re becoming more comfortable with digital rather than human relationships? Those who have greater work-life harmony will turn off their electronic devices and actively engage in other activities they find enjoyable. If you’re addicted to your electronic device, search for the will power to turn it off and allow yourself to retreat from the pressures of work, and find time to relax and regenerate.
Family comes first
My daughter recently asked me a staggering question, “Daddy, why are you gone so much? I need you.” Talk about feeling guilty! It was then I remembered a wise saying, “No success outside the home, can compensate for failure in the home.” Regardless of how much we may think work needs us, there are always others who need us more. Those who have a healthy work-life harmony make a habit of actively pursuing time with those they love, and don’t allow other demands to encroach upon that time. This principle is true, regardless of your relationship or familial status. Make time for those you love. I’m going to embark on many more Daddy/Daughter date nights!
If left unchecked, we can easily fall prey to the expectations of others, and begin to allow their definitions of success to control our thoughts and actions. We can experience intense dissonance as we grapple with defining perfection according to the dictates of a variety of individuals in our entourage. Those who have a healthy work-life harmony have learned to redefine perfection by determining for themselves what success means to them. Take time to learn who you are and what makes you happy. Then actively seek out those activities that bring you the most joy. Doing so reduces stress and anxiety, and gives you greater control over life situations, which in turn leads to greater harmony.
Regardless of our best efforts to create and maintain a healthy work-life harmony, we will no doubt fall off the wagon from time to time. Communicating frequently and openly with your support network, whether family, friends, or colleagues, will help you more effectively stay on track. Continually speaking with the important people in your life can help you make needed changes when things aren’t going as planned. Be open and honest with your co-workers and/or boss about guidelines you have established, and ask that they follow those guidelines as much as possible. Life happens and situations change, but communicating frequently will help to ensure you remain in control as opposed to drifting along.
If there is anything these five habits should teach us, it’s changing the structure in our lives. We all have habits which can wreak havoc on our work-life harmony. The trick is to embrace the habits that lead to greater joy, and discard those that don’t.