During my regular gathering with friends and family, it seems that everyone is looking for work life balance. The stress at work is on your mind while the cries for time with the family and friends ring loud. But it is obvious that seeking for work life balance is not really working because it’s based on conflicting demands of employer and employee for a share of the 24/7 day. There simply isn’t enough time to achieve everything – and it’s getting worse.
Work life balance suggests people are living two lives – one at work and one away from work. But people don’t work for five days (or more) and live for two days (or less). Work is just one of many roles people perform in their week. No matter where they are or what they are doing, day or night, people are carrying personal baggage, problems, responsibilities, personal goals and work goals.
Rather than dividing up the time-cake between work and personal life, people are looking for ways of maintaining their mental, emotional and physical energy to get everything done. Survival isn’t enough. To maintain the essential competitive edge, people need to be able to thrive under pressure, sustaining the resilience to bounce back when they’re down.
Work life harmony becomes the realistic way to go. The theory of work life harmony approach focuses on energy management rather than time management – a harmonious mix of activities that burn up mental and emotional energy and others that generate new energy.
The reason I like to use the word ‘harmony’ instead of balance is that if you think about improv jazz, it approximates how a startup works. You don’t have a predetermined set of things that you’re going to be playing. You’re working with a group of people, your team, and things are changing constantly.
If you try to get harmony between work and life, that actually feels achievable. It’s not that there has to be a balance, it’s that they have to be intertwined, playing off of each other, and feeding off of each piece. Some days work takes over and some days family does. The ability to be flexible and adaptive by striving for harmony versus balance is so much more powerful. There is no measurement. You’re just kind of trying to have this generally positive experience even when the shit is hitting the fan and things are really difficult.
Work will always be an important element of life . The change is that the individual sees work as a means to achieving wider personal interests. Employers and employees need to work in harmony, not in conflict, to ensure that everyone has their needs met. Seek harmony within your life and you’ll actually be happier. Ohm.