Business World

Work-life harmony is easier to achieve with a few simple techniques, writes Brisbane-based entrepreneur Tara-Jay Rimmer.

Work-life balance has been a long-standing dream for so many people that it has almost become mythological.

Recent stats show that 92 per cent of employees would change career if it meant better work life balance.

It is a concept that includes proper prioritisation between your career/ambition and pleasure/family and then how they impact on each other.

With job insecurity on the rise, there is an expectation that employees or businesses will work longer hours in order to keep a job or contract.

When you combine this with mobile technology, you are now reachable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so boundaries have become blurred and balance seems further away.

When I started my first business, there was no work-life balance, but I was “all in” on my goal and had prepared myself for 12 months of this. That meant skipping family holidays and most social events, but what it did in return was catapult my business and brand forward three years.

As an entrepreneur, writer and keynote speaker, my responsibilities grew and aiming for balance felt like the wrong goal for me.

By definition balance means “a state of equilibrium”, while harmony means “a pleasing arrangement of parts”. I know that I am more capable of creating a “pleasing arrangement of parts” than trying to keep a steady position so that everything doesn’t fall in a heap.

So I instead work towards work-life harmony, and the pursuit of harmony has been made easier by applying a few techniques that I believe that anyone can implement.

Work with friends

As a business owner, I am lucky enough to choose who I work with, and often I am fortunate enough to work with friends. Sometimes business meetings can become dinner meetings, which can then become dance parties. It’s also great to connect the friends and colleagues that are important to me with other people – it helps them understand how I spend my time when I am not with them and they also get to build a relationship that is beneficial to them.

Create happiness in your workplace

This could be by offering or utilising flexible work hours, having wellbeing initiatives such as on-site yoga or boxing classes, or bring your dog to work days. The opportunity to start 30 minutes later one day a week so that a member of staff can drop their children at school, or working four days in five can have a profound effect on productivity and energy within the office.

Work hard, play hard

When I work I am 100 per cent focused and do not like interruptions. Some days this can be 6am starts and 11pm finishes but I am fully committed to what I am doing. This principle is also applied to my personal life – I don’t want to discuss work, instead focusing on really enjoying the moment and prioritising loved ones.

Eliminate the things that frustrate you

Being late is a pet peeve and there was a time when I was late for almost every meeting. I was overbooked and then spent the journey to the next meeting worrying about how late I was. I was running around like a headless chicken and inevitably my personal life would suffer as I would need to cancel events as they would be the last of the day. To remove this frustration, I now set a clear agenda and timeframe for all meetings so there are no longer meetings that could have been dealt with in an email.

Tara-Jay Rimmer is an entrepreneur, founder of The Van That Canwriter and key note speaker based in Brisbane.

Colleen Larsen


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