7 Underrated Quotes That Helped Me Create Work/Life Harmony.

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Work/life balance does not exist; it is a myth.

Work/life harmony is entirely attainable and something you can create. The starting point is how you define harmony.

Harmony is simply presence minus guilt. When you are working, be all in and focus on your work. Stop feeling guilty about not being with your family or loved ones.

Equally and as important is when you are with your family or taking some downtime, stop feeling guilty that you’re not working.

Harmony is achieved when you are completely present and content with what you choose to focus on for that block of time. Harmony is not only about what you choose to do with your time but the energy and emotions you bring to the task at hand.

Here are seven quotes that help me create my version of harmony; I hope they inspire you to create yours:

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it” — Richard Whately

I am a big believer in morning routines because it is how you set yourself up for the day ahead. You don’t need to wake up at 5 AM, and you don’t even need a full hour but at least take charge of the first 15 minutes of your day.

You can journal, meditate, exercise, do yoga, pray — anything that allows you to set your intentions for the day ahead and trigger yourself into a peak state. It’s not only about the activity you do, but the opportunity to keep the promise you made to yourself. This is how you build confidence and bring that self-trust into everything you do for the rest of the day.

If you don’t want to introduce a morning routine, then at least commit to not checking your phone first thing. If you wake up and check your messages, you are immediately in a reactive mode and dive head first into stress and anxiety. Your day becomes about everyone’s urgencies rather than your own.

That first hour of the day is when you win your day and create clarity for your actions. If you lose the first hour to your inbox, your day is driven by default rather than design. Remember, if you are not using your morning to trigger yourself, everyone else will.

“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? — Greg McKeon

If you attach self-worth to your work achievements, this quote is for you. The truth is that busyness does not equal productivity. Think about those days where you are non-stop and get to the end of your work day and feel like you achieved nothing.

Harmony can only be real when you stop attaching your self-worth to work achievements exclusively because, with this mindset, you need a return on every moment.

You won’t allow yourself the opportunity to read something unrelated to work, colour in, play with the kids or do a course purely for personal enjoyment because you only value the task if you can relate it to work.

What if you measured your happiness as a measurement of importance?

Suddenly work/life harmony becomes very achievable.

‘To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as where to focus’. — Greg McKeown

It’s not enough to know what to focus on; harmony is when you can dedicate time to one task without the guilt about what you could or should be doing. Remember, the goal is presence minus the guilt.

Trying to do everything at once triggers not only physical multi-tasking but mental multitasking, and this is why you often feel in a brain fog and overwhelmed despite having a good night’s sleep.

Use your daily mundane chores to practice focusing on one thing at a time. When you brush your teeth, just brush your teeth. When you make coffee, don’t check your phone. When you get to a traffic light, don’t check your messages.

The more you can practice being single-minded in your attention and being comfortable with one task at a time, the more productive and peaceful your headspace will be.

“Design your life in such a way that you would never need a vacation from it.” Boruch Akbosh

Here is a revelation — you are allowed to enjoy your weekdays!

How can you live by design and not default?

That’s the mindset shift, understanding that you can design your ideal week. Here are some questions to help you get started:

· Craft your dream “ideal day” on a typical day of the week.

· What does it look like?

· Compare your dream “ideal day” to your current daily schedule. What could be improved?

· What are you not making enough time for?

The thing you are not making time for is most likely the activity that fuels you from the inside out — it could be photography, cricket, cycling, padel ball, baking, painting, gardening, reading — you fill in the blank.

Don’t wait for the weekend to permit yourself to spend time on it. How about scheduling dedicated time in the week, such as a Wednesday afternoon for your favourite class? Firstly, it gives you something to look forward to and provides an opportunity for your mind to wander. It is often outside of work that your best ideas appear. If you love interior design, spend fifteen minutes on Pinterest looking up ideas you can implement on the weekend.

It’s not only the activities you do that you need to consider when designing your day, but the time you wake up and go to sleep. How different would your day be if you stopped sacrificing sleep for checking those last few irrelevant emails?

Design an ideal evening routine to set yourself up for a great day. Replace email for reading so you can fall asleep easily and wake up refreshed.

How can you become the architect of your calendar rather than the victim of it? Now go and make it happen.

“If you talk about it, it’s a dream; if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.” Tony Robbins

Work/life harmony means a combination of work and personal goals should show up in your calendar.

Stephen M.R. Covey says, “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.” Of course, you have the intention to run, meditate, and get to the doctor for that checkup but intention without action is not a strategy for progress.

If you want to get healthier, replace intending to run with carving out dedicated slots in the calendar for this. Your calendar becomes a commitment to yourself. When you block out time for yourself, you automatically say no to everything else.

When you schedule blocks of dedicated time for yourself — you are showing yourself — I matter!

Creating harmony also comes down to boundary management. If it’s scheduled, you need to show up to yourself by keeping your promise. Do not fall into the trap of checking your phone first and then justifying why you couldn’t possibly make time for yourself when you saw an ‘urgent’ email.

When you can honour yourself as highly as everyone else, you will create true harmony in your life.

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.” –Mark Black

Taking time to rest and recharge pushes you out of your comfort zone, especially if you link your self-worth to being busy.

If you have an energy crash at three in the afternoon, you are not recharging regularly throughout the day. How can you show up powerfully for your team and family if you are burnt out and running on fumes?

What do you do to relax?

Even if you can’t bring yourself to be still and read a book or do some adult colouring, what activity do you have in your week that allows your mind to focus on something else apart from work? How about taking up a hobby like photography or a sport like padel ball, martial art or cycling? In these activities, you are entirely in the zone and completely present.

This mental and physical escape from work allows you to recharge and get the creative juices flowing.

Even Billionaire Sarah Blakely says she intentionally carves out time daily to think. Sometimes she needs to drive around in her car to get this space, but it has yielded creative breakthroughs, including how she came up with the name Spanx for her billion-dollar brand.

When you include active rest in your day, you provide space to create clarity in your thinking and your goals. As Stephen Covey says:

‘ If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.’

“Your job is to figure out which behaviours feed your soul and which leave you running on empty” — Chase Jarvis

How do you know if you are not in harmony? You can find out very quickly by asking yourself a simple question — does this activity expand or contract me? In other words, does it drain you or uplift and energise you?

Think about your daily actions and where you spend your time. How can you figure out how to delegate, automate or eliminate the activities that contract you? For the activities that expand you, figure out how to do more of them.

I would even go so far as to question which people expand you or contract you. The people who support your goals and make you feel good about yourself are people you want to keep in your life and spend quality time with.

The people you hang out with out of guilt or fear and tend to shrink you or dim your light are warning signs to manage the boundaries carefully. Can you cut conversations to ten minutes or change the subject to something neutral?

Your time is precious; choose to spend it with people who elevate you.

Final thoughts.

The harmony you create in your life is directly proportional to the level of unconditional friendliness towards yourself.

When you can honestly treat yourself like your best friend, you will begin to make decisions in your best interest and allow yourself the pleasures in your day that you deserve.

You are the only person who stands between the day you truly desire and your current day. You often think boundary management is about managing other people, but it’s managing ourselves by honouring the commitments you make to yourself.

Protect your time and guard it like a warrior; life is too short to live on the someday plan.

Here’s to the things that expand us,

Warm wishes

Lori

For more information on how I can help you and your team create more harmony in your life, contact me on lori@beyondthedress.co.za

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Lori Milner

Lori Milner

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Author. TEDx Speaker. Trainer. Coach. Mother of two. Passionate about personal growth and creating work/life harmony.