“Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.” – Sallust
My life is made up of many different moving parts. Home. Work. Wife. Mother. Woman. Full-Time Working Professional. Finding harmony between each of these is something I strive for every day. While certainly not easy, I’ve found three effective strategies that help keep me sane most days.
Here are a few things I do to help keep all of these important responsibilities and identities working harmoniously together:
Reminding myself that there is only one me is not done to set limits (i.e. that there is only one of me and I can only do so much). It is to remind myself that, to have harmony in my life, I need to embrace who I am at all times. I need to be true to myself – at work, with my spouse, and with my kids. This means trying to be truthful about what I value, feel, desire, and need in this world and communicating this in an honest, respectful and considerate way.
I find this to be especially important with my children. For them to see me as a person, not just as their mom, is something very valuable. The opportunity that AP gives me to work from home has actually helped with this. My kids have learned to respect and understand that, during work hours, I’m a working professional. During non-work hours, they know I’ll focus on being their mom, on living my life, and pursuing other activities that I enjoy.
Regardless of the seat I’m in, I try to convey to them that who they hear talking to a client on a business call is the same person they’ll hear telling them to eat their vegetables. In either situation, it’s about being authentic.
The “One Me” concept can be a good reminder to be introspective and open-minded about how to live life – something that is constantly evolving; to continuously strive to be the best you, no matter which seat you are sitting in at that moment; and to not waste energy on trying to fit someone else’s idea of who you should be.
The day is only 24 hours long, the week only seven days. And most of us have the same business hours. To keep it all in harmony, I put everything from client meetings to parent-teacher conferences on one calendar. I used to keep my family calendar and my work calendar separate. However, there were too many instances where I double-booked myself. I found that I would cancel or re-schedule on family first, which made me sad and frustrated.
Now, I use my work calendar as a base and add in family events. The calendar I use shows the whole week, Sunday to Monday, with each family or work event color-coded. While it can look rather messy at times, having one calendar helps me keep my whole life organized and together. It also prevents me from keeping my life siloed.
If you find that your “you” time or family time tends to take a back seat to work time, try out the One Calendar method. As it has for me, I think you’ll find that it’ll help your personal and professional life exist more harmoniously together.
One To-Do List
Having one to-do list helps me prioritize what is important in all parts of my life and focus on myself and my needs as much as everything and everyone around me. In the past, when I’ve had one to-do list for family, one to-do list for work, and one “me” to-do list, time and again my family and work to-do lists got completed and my personal to-do list just seemed to grow longer and longer. I’d suddenly look up and realized that I am tripping over my own hair, haven’t had a girl’s night out in months, and never even picked up that booked I was dying to read.
Family and Work always run a close race, but, as I’m sure most of you can relate, the “me” to-do list always seem to fall behind. Like the One Calendar concept, you can create more harmony in your life by combining your To-Do list into one. If you’re like me, you’ll be much happier.
At AP, we talk a lot about work/life integration as opposed to work/life balance. Our founder and managing director, Robert Glazer, actually wrote about this on one of his Friday Forward blog posts. The premise is that it’s not balance we should seek, but the ability to be truly present on each end of our work/life spectrum. I call this harmony; harmony in our work and in our lives outside work.
To learn more about this concept and how AP’s culture supports its team members’ ability to bring harmony into their work and personal lives, check out our Careers page.