Forget Work-Life Balance. Pursue Work-Life Harmony

Cheryl Marks Young
3 min readApr 16, 2022

--

by Cheryl Marks Young

When you hear the word “balance” what image comes to mind? Do you envision a set of scales with items piled equally on either side so that the trays rest parallel to one another? Is it another image that reflects some sort of symmetry? Probably. Yet, it’s this association that may make work-life balance seem illusive.

Balance, after all, is not necessarily about obtaining equal portions. The definition of balance has many facets. When it comes to the way we divide our time, however, we ought to take note that one option offered by Merriam Webster is more about proportion and harmony than equal division. In other words, work-life balance may look more like a see-saw than a scale.

Not a Power Struggle

Let’s be clear. The see-saw analogy is not to suggest that dividing your time between work and personal tasks is a constant battle. This is about recognizing that sometimes you may need to give more hours to one facet of your life than another.

The days leading up to a big deadline may require a bit more focus on the work aspect of your day than your time at home. When you’re on vacation, on the other hand, your focus will be on fun, family, friends, adventure, relaxation, or whatever else you’ve got planned for your time off. It’s not about equal allotment of hours. It’s about proportion and harmony.

One Life

One of the biggest issues with the quest for “work-life balance” is that it implies we have a hardline division between different facets of our existence. We don’t. We have one life. We spend some of it at work and some of it not at work. We don’t have a switch we flip to turn on our professional self any more than we can leave behind the other aspects of life when we enter the office.

It Blurs Both Ways

Recognizing that work and personal facets of our lives coexist is important, and not so that we can justify looking in at our emails or responding to a text when we’re watching Netflix at night. This full-self acknowledgement is what opens the door to an office environment that allocates space for nursing mothers to pump breast milk during office hours or for a parent to catch their…

--

--

Cheryl Marks Young

Leadership & Financial Mgmt Consultant, Award Winning Author, Coffee Lover, Entrepreneur, Kitchen Chemist, Food Allergy Awareness Advocate, The Allergy Ninja