7 Secrets to Finding Harmony in Work and Life
Don't think about work-life balance. Think instead of finding harmony between the two.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As an entrepreneur, finding time for your family, your business, and your leisure time can be challenging. It's difficult to do it all. So, I thought you might like the secret to balance. Are you ready? Here it is…
Forget about balance. It's an illusion. "Balance" assumes that we spend an equal amount of time in all or most areas of our life. It is like the image of the "scales" where everything is completely in balance and equal. It assumes that we must spend a certain portion of each week devoted in some equal measure to every item important in our life.
The problem with that is that almost no entrepreneur can actually achieve that. We tend to live such hectic, busy lives it is incredibly difficult to fit it all in.
So, what do we do about this? For me, it's about creating harmony, not balance. This is more than semantics – it is a different way of looking at life. While life can't be fully in balance, it is possible to create a life that is in harmony with your vision of who you are and what you want to do. If that resonates with you, try these simple techniques:
1. Wherever you are, be there.
Here are three simple words that can begin to make a huge difference in creating harmony in your life: Be here now. Wherever you are, be there. If you are at work, don't be thinking about the time you didn't spend with the family the night before, or what you should be doing with your significant other right now. When you are at home, don't be thinking about the work you have to do at the office. Wherever you are, be there, fully and completely.
Related: 3 Essential Questions to Ask for Your Networking Plan
2. Be creative about how you manage your time.
If you have a big project at work that has to be done and you want to spend time with the family one evening, get creative. I used to spend the evening with the family, and when everyone went to bed, I sat down to write my first book. I finished the book without taking any time away from the family. Be creative and inventive in finding ways that you can accomplish what you need to do yet still allow you to spend time doing the other things in your life that bring you harmony.
3. Integrate various elements of your life.
For many years, I spent a couple of weeks or more working remotely from a small lake house. Now that I have more room, I bring up my staff and management team for short retreat/work days. It is a great way to combine my work life into a leisure environment. Then, the last week or so, I take off completely and spend the time with the family. By integrating my two worlds, I create a sense of harmony. Look for ways to integrate elements of your life whenever possible.
4. Practice "letting go" and "holding on."
Contrary to popular belief, I do not think it is possible to "have it all." Unfortunately, life involves making choices. Practice understanding what things to say "no" to and then letting go of them. At the same time, think about the things that are truly important in your life and hold on to them with all your might.
5. Be intentional about whom you "let in your room."
Imagine that you live your entire life in one room and that room had only one door and that door was an "Enter Only" door. Anyone who gets in is there for life. If that were true, would you be more selective about who you let into your room? Everyone I ask that to says a resounding, "YES!" Well, luckily this is only a metaphor. However, when we do let people into our lives that are caustic or difficult, it is very difficult to get them out. If you want harmony in your life, be more selective about whom you let in your room.
Related: Don't Be a Networking Frog
6. Create margins.
Life for an entrepreneur is crazy-busy. Create a life that has "margins." Build in free time, family time, personal time into the margins of your day-to-day existence. You'll be happier for it – I promise.
7. Work in your flame, not your wax.
When entrepreneurs are doing things they hate to do, they are in their wax – meaning they are doing things that are sapping their energy. When entrepreneurs are doing things that they love to do, they are in their flame. They are energized and excited. If you want harmony, strive to do things that are in your flame and not in your wax.
The truth is that when you are 70 years old, you are not going to wish you spent more time at the office. You don't need to be a workaholic to be successful. Focus on creating harmony in your life. Be creative. Find ideas that work for you and the life you live. Make the time and be innovative. Harmony is created where harmony is sought.
Related: Potential Referrals Are All Around You. Pay Attention.