Don’t put on a disguise and act like everything is fine! We all face days, or seasons, where the balance between work and life is disrupted. Busy schedules, competing responsibilities, things we dearly love (ahem, sweet children, spouses, and dear friends) that require care and feeding that sometimes push – or shove – other priorities out of the way.
This kind of experience isn’t the exception in the modern world, it’s the norm. And, with all of the crazy awesomeness of life, we can sometimes forget that we are living it, not surviving it. At Coherence Strategy Group, we started our company because we think a productive work experience is a key ingredient to a harmonious life.
What is a productive work experience? In its simplest form, it’s the state of a person having an experience of work that is challenging, fulfilling, and personally validating because there is clarity, connectedness, and purpose in the work. The environment of work is healthy – not perfect, but healthy. And each member of the team feels as though they are part of a larger whole.
Close your eyes. Imagine working at a place like that. All day, you’ve debated, delivered, and worked hard on an important project with colleagues you respect. You don’t always get along perfectly – who does! But, you know you are all in it together. You are clear on what your company does, why you do it, and how it benefits your customer. You are clear on what you’re great at, what you’re not so great at, and that’s okay. Why? Because other members of the team are great at your not so great things. You’re all in it together. Goals are aligned across departments, even the senior leadership team shares goals – they’re all in it together, too. On top of the job and clarity your organization provides, your company is crushing it in the marketplace. Whoot Whoot! Who doesn’t want to come to work at a place like that?
You reflect on your day during your drive, walk, or train ride home from the office. You’re grateful. This is a pretty sweet gig. As you get home, you turn your attention and energy to other things that are important to you outside of work. Maybe it’s a dog.. A cat… a person or group of people… a hobby you love. Regardless, you realize you have more energy than you’ve had in years to attend to it. Why? Because you’ve found coherence in your work and life. Your bringing harmony – not balance – into you experience on all fronts. You’re aligned, not compartmentalized. And, you feel appreciated and that you’ve received, so you are naturally more equipped to give back. Sa-weeeeet! You think to yourself. This is an awesome gig (and life), indeed.
A life lived in harmony is not likely to start after a single weekend of introspection.
When we decide to make a more balanced life for ourselves, we often tend to focus on huge changes, but this isn’t typically necessary. Big changes are intimidating, and we usually aren’t quite ready for them, even when we are ready for a change. For most of us, the surest way to ensure we continue to move forward into finding harmony, wholeness, and connectedness in our lives is to move forward, one step at a time. Even if each step is a baby step, moving forward incrementally will still gain you ground towards your destination. Small changes are also easy to integrate into our existing routines. Luckily, accumulating these small changes over several months can completely transform your life!
There’s no secret or catch to taking this step. The key is two-fold, however. First, get started now. Seriously, right now. What’s one thing you can do to move towards the life of harmony that you want (and need, maybe even crave)? Second, free your mind. Yep, serious again. In the immortal words of Morpheus from The Matrix, “You have to let it all go, (insert your name). Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.” Only when you let go of the way you have been thinking about yourself and your future can you receive and experience a new way of thinking about it. Balance. Harmony. Coherence. It’s all out there. Don’t stop until you get it.
To help you on your journey, try these small changes that lead to big results. Some may resonate more or less than others. You pick, but pick.
- Spend 15 minutes each day decluttering your home or office. Decluttering is a bit like pulling weeds. You can’t just do it once and forget about it. Decluttering works best if done each day. Choose a room and set a timer for 15 minutes. See how much you can get accomplished before the timer runs out. Don’t be afraid to throw or give things away that are no longer serving you.
- Create a budget and follow it. Everyone knows they should have a budget, yet few actually create one. There are plenty of guides online about how to make a budget. Make a budget that works for you and then stick with it.
- Eliminate the unhealthiest food you regularly eat from your diet. What do you often eat that you know you shouldn’t? Eliminate the worst offender from your life. Replace it with healthier food that you would enjoy.
- Eliminate one expense from your spending. What is one monthly expense that adds little to your life but slowly drains your bank account? It might be the monthly termite service that you’re not sure how you were roped into or the monthly bill for the alarm system you haven’t turned on in the last six months.
- Make a daily schedule. Conscientiousness is the trait most associated with high levels of wholeness and harmony. If you feel allergic to schedules, call it a framework, or rhythm. But, bring some structure to your world. Creating a daily schedule or to-do list is a great start. A short list of the 3 most important things to accomplish is sufficient to change your life for the better.
- Make a list of things you like about your partner/friend/pet/plant (you get the picture). Keep a notebook and write down one thing each day that you like about your partner. You’ll be surprised how much more you appreciate them/it after a month. 🙂
- Make a list of things you enjoy doing. Do you feel that you spend too much time watching TV? Are you bored on a regular basis? Make a list of things you enjoy doing – from small activities to more elaborate. Do at least one of them each day.
- Make a list of the things that annoy you regularly and begin fixing them. It’s all the little annoyances in life that can really wear on your nerves. It’s the closet door that won’t shut all the way, the garbage can with a broken wheel or the screen door with a hole that lets flies in the house. Start fixing those things.
- Make one goal. Just one little goal is enough to make a difference in your life. Choose something that is challenging but meaningful and works toward it each day for the next month or two. Be laser-focused on one thing over the next 30 days. What do you want to accomplish?
- Meditate. Many people report that meditation was the most important thing they’ve ever done for themselves. Buy a book or watch videos online. Make a habit of meditating for 10-15 minutes each day. Try it for at least a month.
Back to our keys, you can begin enhancing the quality of your life today. Today. To-day. You can. But, you have to take the first step. We humans typically do that when we realize that the pain or discomfort of staying where and how we are is more than the pain or discomfort of the energy it takes to for that first baby step. Are you there? Step!
And, while you may not notice a change by the end of the first day, but I bet my harmony that you’ll notice significant changes by the end of the first month. And those changes and the energy and wholeness you feel as a result of them will serve as your impetus to keep the steps flowing.
Now is the time to start. (Music plays, swells, and fades… “And another one’s down, another one’s down, another step bites the dust. Hey, we’re gonna get you too, another one bites the dust…..”)