Why we should seek harmony, not work-life balance

How often do we hear about trying to achieve work-life balance? I’ve said it many times myself, in fact it was once part of my organization’s values. Now, I call it a deceptive word. I even go so far to call it a dirty word for it brings about expectations that are impossible to maintain.

Why ‘balance’ is a dirty word!

When we think of balance we think of a 50/50 split. What I’ve realized is that work/life is never 50/50. Depending on what’s going on you could be working more one day due to a project, or have the need to focus on personal items another day because of a family event. The priority of the moment will dictate the percentage of time you spend on your work/life needs.

When I was trying to achieve a 50/50 balance I was actually setting myself up for failure. If I wasn’t in balance I was judging myself for ‘failing’ to achieve this 50/50 split. That’s a lot of pressure to hold myself accountable to. What I now realize is it’s not about balance, but about seeking work-life harmony instead.

What is harmony?

Harmony is a pleasing arrangement of parts and internal calm. When I view my activity through the lens of harmony I feel good about what I’m doing. I may be busy with my work activities but I’m in harmony with it. Because I’m not judging myself all the time, I can easily switch from a work mode to a personal mode without a single negative thought. Because when I focus on my life, it’s in harmony. When I focus on my work, it’s also in harmony.

3 ways to achieve work-life harmony

There are many ways to achieve work-life harmony, but I recommend these 3 things you can do today to start living harmoniously.

  1. Stop searching for balance: Realize that work-life balance is elusive and find harmony in everything you do. Doing this takes away the pressure of trying to be perfect and gives you permission to do what you need to do to be in harmony with the needs of the moment.
  1. Be here now: To live harmoniously is to be present in the moment. If you’re with your family, don’t think about work. When at work, focus on the activity at hand, not something else. This way you will give your full attention to what you’re doing and can focus on that specific moment.
  1. Live your vision & core values 24/7: To be in harmony you need to be clear on what’s important to you. Your personal vision and core values help guide you in what you want in life. The key is to live your values not only when it’s convenient but most importantly in times of stress. Doing this brings harmony to even the most difficult situations. If you want guidance developing your personal vision and core values, check out my book, The Visual Vision Doodle Book.

Stop searching for balance and start living harmoniously. This simple shift will alleviate the pressure to be perfect, will stop your self-judgement and allow you to enjoy the moment, whichever moment it may be, without guilt. Do this and life will feel easier and harmonious…I promise!

“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”~ Marcus Aurelius

Which strategy most resonates with you? 

Originally published at www.cornerstonedynamics.com


  • Adriana Girdler

    Founder and CEO of CornerStone Dynamics

    ADRIANA GIRDLER, CET, PMP: Adriana is a productivity specialist, TEDx speaker, facilitator, coach and author of The SparkShift Series, The Visual Vision Statement Workbook – personal and business editions. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana Girdler is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work. She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She has been interviewed in The Globe and Mail, is a Huffington Post Contributor and has been featured in numerous industry magazines, on Newtalk 1010, Sirius XM, Global News and 680News. Adriana loves what she does and is passionate about improvement and efficiency in both people and organizations. Connect with her @AdrianaGirdler