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Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

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Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

How do you usually go about your day?

Do you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, and then spend the whole day looking forward to being at home and unwinding?

We often hear about work life balance – having a good balance between work and personal time. Whilst this may sound like a smart idea, it can also imply that we should dedicate at least half of our time to work–and sacrifice time for our “personal life”.

To me, that seems… off balance. Because, the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to split your time equally between the two. And, you may end up stressing out if you’re not able to meet that expectation of balance.

Instead, why not think of having work life harmony instead?

With this mindset, you can actually integrate work into your life in a way that feels more complete. This way, you don’t need to view work and having personal time as separate.

So, how do you achieve work life harmony?

Work Life Harmony Explained

The difference between work life balance and work life harmony is pretty simple. With the former, there is an implication that you have to sacrifice your “life” for work. But, this is the worst way to go about things! How can you truly be at peace in life if you dread 8 hours of your day?

Work life harmony on the other hand, allows your work to be a part of your life. This means that you can choose to be happy both at home, and at work! Work no longer needs to be seen as the ‘bad’ or un-fun activity.

Having work life harmony also ensures you’re truly present in whatever place you find yourself.

Just take a look at Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon for example.

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He uses a non traditional approach to work by making time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules surprisingly few meetings, and still puts aside a few minutes every day to wash his own dishes.

He believes that all his staff should stop trying to achieve a ‘balance’ in their work and personal lives as that implies a trade off. Instead, he envisions a more holistic relationship between the two.

As the world’s richest man, he must be doing something right!

Case Study: A Hard-Working Nurse Whose Life Is Falling Apart

Ryan was a nurse who worked in the hospital. Although he found his work meaningful, he sometimes doubted about how much he could actually do to help the patients as a nurse because he found that many patients needed mental support more than the physical one. Having to work for long and irregular hours, he had his mental and physical energy all drained. Worse, he didn’t have the time and energy to spend with his girlfriend, and their 5-year-relationship was on the edge of separation.

He came to Lifehack to seek for inspiration and advice. He took our Life Assessment and got the following result:

    Looking at the result, my team and I understood how rough time had to be for Ryan. Ryan also told me that he felt like his life was falling apart. It was like nothing in his life was going well.

    I encouraged him to stay hopeful, and that my team and I would help him to get out of this rut and be happy again. Ryan wasn’t sure but still took a leap of faith and enrolled our Full Life Framework Course.

    After the first few sessions of the course, Ryan was able to rediscover what he wanted for life most – he wanted to help people and being a nurse wasn’t the only way! He recalled how much he was into psychology and he wanted to give people mental support.

    Then with the help of our coach, he started to figure out ways to achieve this new purpose of life. Two months later, he found a clinic where he could be a part-time nurse. So he quit his job in the hospital and signed up for a couseling certificate course.

    Now Ryan is still studying for the couseling certificate. He isn’t less buy, but he feels more energetic because he finds what he doesn meaningful and is hopeful about his future.

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    What about his relationship? You may ask. After he quit his hospital job, he felt he had a clearer mind and decided to face his relationship problem. He mustered his courage to talk with his girlfriend openly about their relationship issues. He loves his girlfriend so he knows that together as a couple they must tackle all these relationship problems together, instead of letting the relationship gradually end. They talked things out and promised each other to make their relationship work together and would always support each other.

    Do you see how being clear about what you truly want in life matters now?

    If you want to know how balanced your life is, take our Life Assessment here for free now.

    How To Achieve Work-Life Harmony

    Rethink Time Management

    Now, when we think of striking a balance, we usually associate it with time, don’t we? How much time are we spending at work versus how much time are we spending in our personal lives? Are we taking enough time to be with our loved ones, to do meaningful activities with others or even for ourselves, or are we just dedicating all our time to work?

    This is the so-called-balance that many struggle with.

    With work life harmony, we learn to rethink time management. By re-assessing how you manage your time, you’ll have a lot more of it. It’s incredible how much time can get wasted over the period of a day–especially when you’re not accurately tracking it.

    Unfortunately, unless you’re consciously making an effort, your brain is not always the best at making accurate judgement calls when it comes to prioritizing. It tends to have a bias towards short term benefits and short term costs.

    As there are often many more options our brains link to short term benefit; when you’re trying to focus on a task that gives you a long term benefit, that task usually becomes low priority. This is otherwise known as Priority Chaos.

    In order to overcome this and be in better control of your time, identify the tasks that need the most focus to get accomplished. If it’s a big task, then it’s good to break it down into smaller bite-sized actions that will provide you with a clearer short term benefit.

    When setting up tasks, give yourself a time limit. The brain has a bias towards short term benefits, and your attention span is limited, so if your tasks are going to take ages to complete, you’ll end up losing focus… and wasting time.

    Once you have all your tasks written down, it’s time to prioritize them. Since you have a time limit, your focus should be on the top priority tasks. By doing this, you will already be able to get more done in less time at work!

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    Have Passion for What You Do

    Managing your time is important in achieving that work life harmony. But, perhaps of greater importance, is loving what you do in life. One of the most effective ways to achieve a work life harmony is to really enjoy, or find a purpose, in what you do for a living. Even though everyone isn’t always lucky enough to find a position that pays them for pursuing their passion, you can strive to find meaning in what you are already doing, or pursue something new entirely!

    For example, say you work at an office that sells paper. While many people wouldn’t consider this a world changing pursuit, I beg to differ. Think of all the individuals in the world that rely on paper. From creative types to quantum physics experts, your role at your workplace brings incredible value to many many people all over the world. You will have, without a doubt, helped bring a new idea into existence. Several new ideas to be precise.

    So, think about what you’re doing now. Is it something that allows you to embrace your passion?

    Or perhaps you might not even know what it is that you love or enjoy doing. Why not explore and reflect on what gives you joy and contentment? Is there an area or industry that you could see yourself exploring to experience that fulfillment?

    Can you find a deeper purpose in what you’re already doing?

    When you’re able to find meaning in your work, you’re that much closer to achieving work life harmony.

    Don’t Be Intimidated By Obstacles and Limitations

    Creating work life harmony is also about understanding yourself–which includes your limitations and past obstacles–as this allows you to become more resilient.

    If you never had to experience struggles, challenges or setbacks, then you would never be forced to adapt and mature. So in theory, having to face obstacles in life is actually quite necessary.

    Most of us think of setbacks and obstacles as negative. Though, if you’re able to maintain an optimistic attitude, you’ll almost always have a higher chance of success of overcoming those obstacles to reach your eventual goal.

    Your attitude towards setbacks will define the outcome of whether you rise from the challenge or remain stuck in it. So, in order to achieve work life harmony, it’s important to have a resilient attitude as challenges will always come your way–especially when you strive to integrate work into your life, and not a separate or dominant part of life.

    Delegate When You Need To

    Of course, when you want to increase productivity and minimize the time or effort spent, a great way to do so is to delegate!

    If you spend a lot of time doing tasks on your own that could be delegated to others (whether at work or at home) you’re losing a lot of precious free time that could otherwise be spent elsewhere.

    At the end of the day, we all have a limited amount of time. So we should all be striving to create a harmonious work and living situation where we can find meaning in all that we do.

    While an overall goal may be meaningful, not all of the milestones or tasks needed to get there may be meaningful. That’s because we have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Not every task is going to be enjoyable or easy to complete. That’s where delegation comes in.

    Delegation simply allows you to leverage time from an external source, thus giving you opportunities to increase your own quality of time. Keep in mind that delegation should be done with deliberate attention, otherwise you may end up over relying on others.

    If you find that you’re running into the problem of over delegating, then it may be time to re-evaluate your motivation for doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

    Embrace the Circle and Become Happier and More Productive

    Living in harmony is about feeling good about the ways in which you spend your time, despite how busy you may be. Your switch from work mode to a more personal mode should be effortless. It’s about integrating your personal life and the things you love into your busy work life!

    It all begins with the shift in perspective. Understanding what your passions are, and learning to be resilient, before taking a different approach to the way you manage your time and everyday tasks.

    These are steps that you can start taking to move away from balance to harmony.

    Featured photo credit: Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2022

    17 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life

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    17 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life

    Achieving work-life balance can be really tough. More and more people are reporting that managing their personal and professional lives has become more difficult.

    Longer working hours, more pressure to get things done quickly, more pressure to succeed and less personal time. Added together this combination of things creates more stress and plenty of daily struggles.

    But working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most.

    “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles” — Zig Ziglar

    The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    What is Work Life Balance?

    When we talk about work life balance tips, we are not merely talking about the time aspect of your schedule. Work life balance is an inclusive approach towards all the facets of life that gives the utmost satisfaction and gives the feeling of fulfillment.

    Work life balance may have a different meaning in everyone’s life. To understand it better, consider all the things that are important to you. For example, work, friends, family, time you spend on hobbies, interests, etc.

    If you feel that you are compromising on any important facet of life, you do not have work life balance.

    There is a fine line of demarcation between personal and professional life. When you are able to bring an equilibrium between both sides, you get a perfect work life balance. It is a simple attitude towards your life where none of these sides supersedes the other when it comes to prioritization.

    Why Work Life Balance is Important?

    Many of us get into the thought trap where we feel as if we need to sacrifice a particular facet of life in order to achieve something. Unless we give up or compromise on something we love, we will not be rewarded with an achievement. Well, that’s actually never true!

    There is no need to compromise on anything or work longer to achieve something. It is just the mindset. Work life balance allows you to achieve everything in life and keeps you happy at the same time!

    We need to consider what would happen if we did not have a work-life balance to understand the importance!

    People focusing on limited facades of life end up feeling dissatisfied and unhappy. Our minds tend to focus on what we had to compromise rather than what we gained. It is a sad state of mind that leads to stress and sometimes mental issues brought about by anxiety.

    It is important to have a work life balance since it allows you to enjoy every moment of your being. You are left with enough time and energy for work, family, friends, me-time, or anything else that’s important to you! You get to enjoy everything and be happy with a proper work life balance!

    17 Work Life Balance Tips

    Here are 13 work-life balance tips you can implement right now to start living a more stress free life:

    1. Take More Rejuvenation Days

    When was the last time you took some time out from work to completely rejuvenate?

    One of the best ways to create an environment for future high productivity and creativity is to take yourself outside of the day to day and remove yourself completely from work-related activities.

    By taking time out for yourself, you will gain clarity on what’s most important, both now and in the future, and you will come back refreshed, energized and motivated. By taking more rejuvenation days, you are investing in yourself which naturally means you are creating more balance.

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    If you can take this day to yourself every month or two you will start seeing immediate results on all levels of your business and life.

    Now get your calendar out and mark down your rejuvenation days!

    2. Let Go of Fear

    Many people, be they entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders or managers worry that if they’re not working, or seen to be working every day, they may miss out on something important. The business may fail or they may not get that promotion or something. There’s always something. There is a sense that something bad could happen if not enough time was invested or “I could always be working on something else”.

    But, what if you believed you were good enough, you were achieving and doing something meaningful, and that you mattered?

    Once you have that belief and confidence, you can let go of the fear that there is ‘always more’. You will feel more joyful, productive, abundant and know that what you accomplished was good enough.

    This guide will help you get over your most irrational fears: How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

    3. Prioritize Your Day

    If you took a step back and looked at what’s on your to-do list, how many things are critical? How many things MUST be done that day?

    It all starts with a clear understanding of what your bigger and better future looks like. Are you planning a year ahead? Three years? Ten years? What are you working to achieve?

    Once you understand that, you can work back and create plans and goals that help you achieve your bigger objectives.

    You may build 90 day outcome goals, the things you really want to achieve in the next quarter and then lay out the process for getting there. From this plan you will understand your priorities and where your focused time should be.

    Don’t have 10 things on your list to complete that day. Focus on achieving just 3 or 5 important things every day. Achieve them and your motivation will go through the roof. Have too many and don’t complete them and your energy levels will drop.

    Lifehack’s CEO Leon has his unique way on how to prioritize: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Express Gratitude for What You Have

    Sometimes we are so busy working through and dealing with the day to day and having our mind in the future that we forget about the here and now, this present moment. I believe it’s essential to include proactive gratitude as part of everyday life, to actually look at everything in our lives and appreciate what we have.

    Many of us think of gratitude as reacting. Something happens or someone does something and you feel grateful. You say thank you, maybe send an email.

    But a far more proactive strategy for creating and living an abundant life is to actively find things you appreciate. This affects your own personal state of mind but also impacts others. You could send a handwritten card to the people you love or someone that means a lot to you.

    Try giving thanks for three things at the end of every day and see how this shifts your mood and mind-set.

    5. Learn to Say No

    It’s important to decide what you want to do, who you want to build relationships with and where you want to spend your time. We have so many requests made of us and so many opportunities to do different things that we end up saying yes to things that we really don’t want to do but feel we should do.

    Have the self-respect, confidence and courage to live life on your own terms and say yes only to the things that really matter. For everything else, start saying no.

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    When you are clear on who matters most and what matters most, you gain clarity on what and who is essential and who isn’t.

    Your time is scarce. When you start saying no to most things, you will become more focused and be completely present in everything you’ve said yes to.

    Leo Babauta has this guide on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    6. Have More Fun

    If you looked back at the last week, how much time did you spend just having fun? If it wasn’t much, then it’s time to change things up.

    Think about what gets you excited, think about the people you love spending time with. Jump into new things and new relationships. Take some risks, try something new, learn a new skill and start laying the groundwork for a big project you’ve always been putting off.

    If you need to get out of your comfort zone to have more fun, just do it. However, you want to change your life, having more fun keeps you energized and motivated.

    7. Start to Journal

    One of the biggest things that has helped me in my own personal growth and goal achievement is using my journal every day.

    This is the place to house my dreams. It is home to my creative thoughts and my thinking tools. It’s a place to escape to. It’s also a place to write down thoughts and notes on where I am right now — my thinking, my mind-set and my belief system.

    The habit of writing in my journal felt like a small step but has been transformative. It has become a routine that has affected other parts of my life.

    So, start keeping a journal. Commit to writing every day, even if it’s just for five minutes and see where your imagination takes you.

    Here’re some tips to kickstart journaling: Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide)

    8. Create One Hour a Day to Think and Relax

    It’s amazing what we actually have time for, especially when we decide to really make time. I hear the phrase “I don’t have time” constantly. How about you change that mind-set and start dedicating one hour a day to yourself?

    One hour to work on yourself. One hour for reading. One hour to learn a new skill.

    The truth is we can all find time if it’s important to us. This one hour a day could help us become more creative and increase your energy and focus. Plus, you’ll increase your capabilities.

    9. Do One Thing You Love to Do Every Day

    As we get sucked into the whirlwind of the everyday, it’s all we can do just to get by. We often forget to do or enjoy the things that actually bring us the biggest amount of joy.

    One of the best ways to bring more balance back into your life is to recommit to do the things that give you the most pleasure. If you don’t have anything, I suggest you find something you’re passionate about. This could be reading, walking, meditating, learning an instrument or a language, or becoming a better cook or gardener.

    It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you get joy from the experience. Try carving out time every day to do this one thing. Do it for 30 days and it will become a habit. Plus, it will help you reconnect with what you really care about.

    10. Create More Family Time

    This is an area that means a lot to me and was one of the reasons I set up my coaching business in the first place.

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    I have two young children and I wanted to see more of them and to spend more time with my family. I get to take them to school sometimes and am often home for ‘family dinner’ and bedtime stories. Having the freedom to do this is essential in how I run my business and how I help other entrepreneurs run their business.

    If you can create a bit of space to spend more time with the people that matter you will see a massive difference. Here’s a guide on How to Maximize Family Time with plenty of ways you can try immediately.

    11. Set Clear Goals

    Successful people are always guided by a vision of their future. To keep them on course and motivated setting clear goals, both long-term and short-term, allows them to achieve their biggest dreams.

    Setting specific and measurable goals gives you the best chance to transform how you work and live. They help you move forward and build momentum every single day. As Dan Sullivan says,

    “Your future is your property. If you don’t take ownership of it, others will be happy to do it for you.”

    Learn how to set clear goals with this step-by-step guide: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

    12. Focus on Results, Not Time Spent

    Rather than thinking about working harder, focus your time and energy on achieving bigger results. By simplifying your areas of focus, you free up more time to live a more joyful and balanced life.

    It’s really easy to fall into the trap of doing countless activities that drain your energy and take you away from building momentum in moving your business forward. You are being pulled in multiple directions and don’t have enough time and often take on too many projects. This can often leave you drained, worried and uncommunicative at the end of the day.

    Remember, getting more things done means nothing when nothing great is done.

    By focusing on a smaller number of projects and delivering maximum impact, you have a bigger sense of achievement, confidence and motivation. Plus, you may have more time to stop work early and spend time with the people that matter.

    13. Commit to a Bigger Future

    You have the power and control to decide what bigger and better future you want for yourself right now, in this present moment. How far into the future you want to ‘vision’ is up to you. It could be 3 years, 5 years, 10 years or 25 years. This future is yours to create but, it only comes from investing time now to think about where you are and where you want to go.

    Try this: Look into your ‘future you’ and be clear where you want to go, who you want to be and how you want to live your life. Then, bring yourself back to the present day and create an action plan on how you’re going to create and ‘walk to’ this bigger future.

    You will feel a higher sense of energy, engagement, motivation, creativity and productivity because you have a clear vision and clarity on exactly where you want to go and the steps you need to take to get there.

    This article can help you do that: The Best Way to Create a Vision For the Life You Want

    14. Schedule Your Time Smartly

    Time is one of the prime factors to consider when you plan to improve your work life balance. If you control your time, you can control everything!

    You might have to deal with millions of tasks in a day, and sometimes it leads to forgetting other important things in life. But if you intentionally schedule your working day and stick to your calendar, these minor hiccups will not be able to over-power your resolve to maintain work life balance.

    You can use a simple pen-paper or your tech-gadget to schedule your time. Plan out your personal and professional life every day and keep your schedule handy to help you stay focused. You will get the opportunity to over-perform, but it should never be at the cost of other aspects of your life.

    Remember, your work life is important, but so is your personal life that includes vacation time and spending quality time with your friends and family.

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    15. Find Portals for Flexibility

    There are times of the day when you actually can afford to be a little relaxed. But as our human nature dictates, not all of us let it be and simply enjoy the break!

    We would rather schedule something else for that amount of time just to finish the errand. Don’t do that! Find your portal for flexibility and give yourself the luxury of extended breaks and breathe every once in a while!

    16. Find a Buffer

    When we say buffer, we mean that you need to find time between professional and home life, where you learn to let go. Don’t take your office to home and home to the office. Both are important; however, none should be powerful enough to spoil your mood and impact the other!

    For example, while going home from the office, try to unwind yourself by listening to music or podcast that loosens you up. It would recharge you and bring back a smile on your face. Make a dedicated effort to do this every day, even when going to work.

    17. Unplug from Technology

    Technology is one of the major culprits behind people not learning to relax. Our lives are so much tangled and surrounded by technology that we hardly leave the sight of our mobile phones or laptops throughout the day, even when it’s not required! [1]

    It is us who give the power to technology to subjugate us to the extent that it becomes a compulsion.

    Unplugging yourself from technology every once in a while would give you enough opportunity to make time for everything else that matters. It is one of the gospels to achieving work life balance in the 21st century.

    Benefits That a Healthy Work Life Balance Can Bring to Your Life

    There are numerous benefits of having work life balance. Many don’t realize until it’s too late that your personal and professional life is equally important and that you should not have to compromise on either of them. Whether you are a business owner or an employee, when you have a perfect work life balance, you can:

    Be Free from Stress and Other Mental Ailments

    Overcompensating on a particular part of life results in dissatisfaction. For example, how would you feel when you have to put long hours at the office to finish the incomplete projects while your family eats dinner alone at home?

    Frustrated? Annoyed? Stressed? Angry? Dissatisfied?

    The list could go on, and all these feelings would devour your peace of mind. Eventually, it results in burnout, and people get trapped into the vicious habit of getting stressed. Many even develop other mental issues on account of extended work hours. [2]

    Having a good work life balance reduces stress and saves you from developing any such mental ailments.

    Be Happy and Satisfied with Life

    Let us try to answer another question! How would you feel when your work performance is excellent, you manage to give family time, and get to blow off steam playing poker with your friends? Super-Awesome! Isn’t it?

    That is what happens when you balance your work and life. It would not happen overnight, but eventually, when you habituate yourself performing balancing techniques, you will observe that you are happy and satisfied with your life.

    Be More Productive in Every Facet of Life

    Your productivity is directly linked to your mindset. If you are stressed, unhappy, dissatisfied, or angry at life, you would never be able to give your hundred percent.

    However, if you manage to maintain a balanced approach in your professional and personal time, your serotonin levels would shoot through the roof since you would be happy. It would eventually allow you to give out your best performance everywhere.

    The Bottom Line

    Some of these strategies and tips will allow you to think differently and work differently immediately, whilst others will take a little longer to implement but will be key to your long-term success.

    Creating a balance between how you think, how you work and how you spend your time is essential to your long-term health and mental wellbeing. The desire to create that change only comes from within. Hopefully these strategies and tips will set you on the right path!

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    More Tips About Living a Balanced Life

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

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