Work-Life Harmony

I heard this expression the other day: work-life harmony. You’ve more often heard “work-life balance.” Instantly, the idea of harmony made sense and sounded a lot better. (Thanks, Lisa Horner!)

I’m drinking a delicious cup of yerba mate today, pretending it’s strong coffee. What about you? Hit reply and let me know, if you want. Or share more thoughts about the newsletter a little later.

WE ARE BECOMING ADDICTED TO CHAOS AND FRENZY

In talking with a bunch of MBA students at Brigham Young University the other night, I was asked whether blogging was really going to die soon. I replied, naturally, that radio died shortly after TV started, so yes, that was likely. (I wish there were a sarcasm font, but you get it). I did say, however, that we are the problem.

We are addicted to next. When we read our inbox, we’re always thinking about the next mail. When we browse the web, we are calibrated to scan quickly, skim often, and barely register what we see. It’s neither good nor bad. But it definitely is.

YOU CAN’T KEEP UP

A woman three days ago said, “I don’t like Twitter. I can’t keep up.” I said, “You don’t have to keep up. It’s a stream. Dip in. Say hi. Read what you want. Leave.”

But we think we have to keep up. We believe we have to read Mashable and TechCrunch and all those sites to know what’s new or who’s being acquired.

Hint: nearly none of us have to do that. Nearly none.

PUT. THE. PHONE. DOWN.

I bet there are many domestic battles that come with smartphone use. You’ve been “caught” looking at your phone before when it wasn’t exactly appropriate. Right? Was it important? No. It was a way to fill a void.

Do you need to respond to a tweet or a Facebook comment within two minutes? No. A day? Depends. Ever? Depends.

Put the phone down. Close the lid. Do real work. Unplug.

SCHEDULE YOUR DISTRACTIONS

Rob, in his Work Like You’re on Vacation course, makes a really great point: when we go away to lunch or a break or something, most of us come back and scan our social platforms and our inbox. Is it necessary? Rarely. Is it easy? Yes. Does it make us feel connected to something/someone? Yes. But it’s hampering your output and your overall harmony.

The inbox is the perfect delivery system of other people’s priorities. Close it.

Schedule times to read it. Make sure the boss and the significant other (sometimes, these are the same person) have a way to reach you, and shut out everything else. Until it’s time to do otherwise.

MOVE YOUR BODY

Over the past many weeks, I’ve been practicing yoga more often than not (I blame Jacq). I’ve come to notice that when I keep my body moving regularly (even including small 5 minute stretch and walkabout breaks every 20 or so minutes), the harmony of my thoughts and my focus are better. Why? Because sitting for unmoving hours in front of your screen is not especially healthy, nor helpful to your brainpower. If 20 minutes is too fast, try 40. But move. Much more often. And stretch your eyes, too.

SMALL PLANS TRUMP NO PLAN

The more you work from a plan, the more you will find harmony. Yes, spontaneity is important. But if you haven’t handled all your crap, you have no time to be spontaneous. And that’s where harmony sneaks out and gets a sandwich while you’re looking around for what you were supposed to be doing next. More planning, more space in your universe for a better work-life harmony.

MIND YOUR MINDFULNESS

Go to whatever reader or news app you use and stuff in “mindfulness.” You’ll see all kinds of business sites reporting all kinds of studies saying “holy crap, we should all meditate more.” Will people? Less certain. But if you did, life would get more magical super fast. Promise. It’s working for me. After Jacq taught me what to do, I’m getting amazing at focusing, at being more productive, at getting back into my groove when distracted by other work. All thanks to mindfulness and meditation practice.

Is this all soft hoo hoo? I don’t think so. I think it’s the guts of what’ll make you the owner of your life, your work, and your destiny. But hey, that’s why there’s an unsubscribe button. We can disagree. It’s okay.

SELLY SELL

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Join us and you won’t regret a minute of it.

See you next week, my friend.

Oh, no audio version this week, but I’d love it if you subscribed to my podcast in iTunes. The week ahead is filled with magic. : )

Thanks!

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Comments

  1. Makes lots of sense. Can definitely attest that the ‘balance’ stuff really does help with greater clarity and productivity. Been doing more of this since the start of the year and can always identify the reason why a day was less and when a day was more. Start of the day though has to include a good ‘cuppa ‘ tea – English habits die hard!

  2. Well said. For entrepreneurs time is valuable and when it’s wasted, money is lost, whether your wasting the time or it’s your team members. This concept is easy to say but rather difficult to implement. Myself and my team use a preferred calendar where our days are broken up and within a certain time frame we work on a specific task, nothing else. Michael Hyatt introduced me to this concept. Excellent way to become more productive.

  3. Love it Chris – good catching up last week. I think an idea like ‘harmony’ allows you to customize your life and work, for you. There’s not one standard set of rules that yields harmony in life – create your own orchestra!

  4. I used to be that “keeping up” person, Chris, feeling the obligation as a marketer. Now, I am more relaxed about it. When I get to it, I do, without frenzy or fuss about timing. Phew. :)

  5. First off – haven’t been to your site in a while just want to mention that it looks great. Second, thanks for this post – trying to “do it all” you’ll never get anything done. Thanks Chris for helping us keep on track without going crazy. Appreciate it.

  6. Hello Chris,

    I just stumbled upon your site and I like a lot your attitude and writing style – straight to the point.

    For years, I’ve wondered how to reach work-life balance. Thanks to your post, I realised I was looking for harmony at work as well.

    I agree that technology makes us addicted to the point that we can’t focus on doing a good job or on being present for the dear ones. At the same time, I must say that I like how technology has changed our lives. For example, being able to talk via Skype with family members and friends who don’t live in the same town/country. Or, thanks to the Internet, discovering people like yourself.

    Technology can enrich our lives, we just need to make sure we control our addiction to it. To my mind, this is one of the challenges of the times we live.
    Cheers

  7. “The inbox is the perfect delivery system of other people’s priorities. Close it.”

    Close social media as well por favor + stop staring at your phone in public (or in bed with your girlfriend, I’m naked next to you buddy). Enough with the machines; jeez. Ok, no, so let’s get the balance so we use the machine but then close them to do other things other then work work work and mindless social media.

    On that note I love your blog but I’m shutting down my computer :)

    Namaste Hot stuff,
    XO

  8. Phil Maguire says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking along these same lines last week.

    I’ve been thinking about zen, simplicity and kaizen. I’ve also been thinking about the precipitous learning curve I’ve been climbing to learn how to blog and if I can’t apply simplicity and kaizen to it as I’ve done with the rest of my life.

    Amusingly enough I found out about the benefits of walking to my
    thought processes by accident recently and I do schedule times for particular activites. So I can vouch for both of those things as being helpful

    Thanks for the post. keep it up

  9. Thanks for this! Loved reading your thoughts and insights… I feel like all my friends that work for themselves, especially struggle with this balance you are referring to. And I blushed a little when you said “put the phone down” – I am that person… eek!

    Thanks for the insight! Love your postings/emails.

  10. Chris this is great- my friend Eric Plantenberg has been raving about you for months- glad I finally looked up long enough to see why :). Psyched to be here!

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