There are many business and life axioms I subscribe to, but a common one I have a love-hate relationship with is “work-life balance” or WLB.  It’s certainly an important indicator of well-being and can have a profound influence on business success. So what’s to hate about WLB?  The word ‘balance’ makes me cringe and throws the whole concept off. The image of a weighted scale with ‘work’ on one side balancing the rest of life’s demands on the opposing side is just, well, wrong. Please delete this image and pronto!

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius

I’m calling ‘BS’ on WLB…rather than focusing on and trying to get everything into ‘balance’ as academics call it, I invite you to focus on finding harmony, where you instead aim to minimize friction and conflict between your work and personal demands. 

I’ll share an example of how I weave harmony into my work and life:

It’s all about priorities. In order to create harmony, we’ve got to know what’s most important to us. I use a tremendously powerful tool for prioritizing demands and minimizing friction. It’s a Five Square template you can access here (plus example worksheet here). It’s uber-helpful for providing clarity about my top five life and business domains:

  1. My Black Dress Circle business
  2. My PhD studies
  3. Being Audrey’s mom
  4. My health
  5. My financial well-being

With clarity in these five areas, I can more easily say no to things that don’t fit within my top domains. When competing demands come up (and they seem to pop-up practically every hour), I can unapologetically say ‘no thank you,’ without hesitation or guilt—all because I am clear on my top priorities.

Reassess your priorities to minimize friction between your work & personal demands. ~Erin Joy

So you may be wondering, once you know your five focus domains, how frequently should you reassess them? While there’s no set formula (eg. a semi-annual or quarterly review), check-in frequency is best driven by your life currents. If you’re experiencing lots of conflict and friction on a consistent basis, it may signal that it’s time to reassess.

Back to the Five Square; with the five life domains completed to guide your days, harmony is a natural outcome. And isn’t WLH (work-life harmony) something we all strive for?

So I highly recommend using the Five square to get clear on your top 5 domains, and then on a daily basis jot down what you’re doing today to advance those domains. Once you do, please drop me a line…I’d love to hear from you about the positive effects it has on your WLH. Whoever you collaborate with to make your business hum at maximum capacity, I challenge you to think beyond your current boundaries.


Erin Joy