It’s Not Work-Life Balance. It’s Work-Life Harmony

Over the past year, Relish Marketing has been getting busy. Old clients are coming to us with new jobs. Companies we’ve never worked with before are reaching out to scope our availability. Business, as they say, is booming.

Our increased workload has inspired a series of conversations between myself and my coworkers on the importance of maintaining our personal lives. It was during one such conversation with Corey-Jan, our head strategist and frequent contributor to this blog, that I was challenged in my use of the phrase “work-life balance.”

“Because it really isn’t balance we should be striving for,” said CJ, “but harmony.”

Her point was that “work-life balance” calls to mind a perfectly segmented day divided between personal time, time spent with loved ones, and working time. And, life doesn’t work that way. A state of work-life balance cannot accommodate a surge of business requiring an above-average amount of professional attention any more than it can accommodate, say, a family emergency.

So, when I find myself in a situation as I do today, inundated with exciting business opportunities that require substantial effort to see through, I don’t seek balance. I seek harmony.

The difference may sound merely linguistic. But in practice, it is profound. Harmony is not rigid and inflexible. It does not require a perfectly segmented day. Harmony is fluid, taking into account that some days are busier than others, as are some months, and even years. Sometimes, when you’re busy, the simple answer is to roll up your sleeves and jump in.

This is not to say that our personal lives don’t matter. In fact, they are exceedingly important. In the world of advertising, we marketers are responsible for delivering engaging creative that turns heads and gets proverbial – and sometimes literal – butts in seats. Well, that kind of excellence doesn’t come from just anywhere. It certainly doesn’t come from a space lacking of personal fulfillment.

Passion feeds passion. Time spent with our friends and family not only sparks joy but creativity. The energy we cultivate in our personal lives enables the brilliance we achieve in our professional ones. Likewise, our professional lives should afford us opportunities to invest in our personal lives. And both personally and professionally, when the busy times subside, we know we will make up for any lost moments.

The concept of work-life harmony understands this – and welcomes it. When our personal lives demand our attention, we have the flexibility to be there be it for friends, family, or the refrigerator repair expert. When Relish gets busy, we go to work. Sometimes our days stretch long, and our candles burn low. But we know the best work comes from a place of harmony. We allow ourselves time for passions, for whims, for the people who matter in our lives. Even in our busiest seasons, it fuels us professionally as well as personally.