Forget Balance - Strive for Work-Life Harmony!

January 08, 2019
By Chris Girardi

We’ve all felt burnt out after long hours at work, especially in the hospitality industry where a 14-16 hour day is the rule, not the exception. For ambitious chefs who want to make a name for themselves and/or achieve perfection, the kitchen can seem all consuming and all of the sudden you start missing birthdays, gatherings, friend’s weddings and let’s not start to talk about holidays.  When you’re spending so much time at work, it’s hard to dedicate quality time to other aspects of your life, and to find space for that much needed relaxation and rejuvenation to stay at the top of your game.

It’s for that reason we’re often told how important it is to strike a work-life balance. It’s a pretty straightforward concept - you try to maintain a good balance between work and other aspects of your life (not just going out with friends for as much time as you work!) But, this ‘balance’ can be a bit problematic. It means two parts of our lives are always opposing each other, and we have to fight to make sure we have enough time to do both - a fight your personal life ends up losing out on, especially when you are a chef.

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Enter: Work-life Harmony

When we seek a work-life balance, we essentially split ourselves 50/50 between two parts of our lives. But, there’s a subtle, yet powerful distinction we can make. Instead of seeking balance, seek a work-life harmony where your work co-exists with the rest of your life.

A work-life harmony considers work and life to be interconnected elements of a whole - a complete circle, rather than two things we have to weigh up on a scale. In this sense it seeks to solve that problematic binary, encouraging us to not choose either-or, but to find a way to live equally with both.

The idea is that if you’re happy at home, you bring that same happy energy to work, just as being happy at work will let you bring your happiness home with you. As a result, you’re much more engaged in what you do, and enjoy doing it far more than when you’re stressed about balancing it with everything else. That way you’re taking control of the quality of your life, and becoming happier and more productive.

So, How Can You Do It?

There’s no one size fits all method for achieving work-life harmony. Everyone’s circumstances are different, meaning we all have different work and home pressures from long shifts, to kids, to trying to keep fit. Instead, it’s all about striving for a lifestyle that works for you, and suits your different commitments. With that in mind, here are 3 things you can do to start creating your own harmony.

1. Stop balancing

Remember, constantly seeking balance is debilitating. That’s because we become more stressed when we worry about how we fit everything in, creating a heap of pressure to find an elusive balance that will supposedly solve all our problems.
Instead you have to commit to the idea of harmony - not as a goal, but as a lifestyle. That way you accept you have different commitments, and stop worrying about how you’ll get there. You just focus on actually getting there.

2. Go all-in

This is where you need to take a leaf out of Nike’s book and ‘just do it.’ Whatever you’re in the middle of, focus on it, and give it all your energy. Whether it’s prepping for dinner service or getting lunch with friends, be present and focus on that activity.
When you do this, you can move onto the next easier knowing you’ve given everything your all, removing the stress of thinking you should be doing something else.

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3. Control your situation

To achieve harmony, you need to be clear on what is important to you - your values and your goals. That may mean rethinking what you do at home, or even where you work as you look for opportunities to create the lifestyle YOU want.

For example, many people turn to fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) work as a way of taking control of their work life, and making it suit their goals. Not only do you get great pay, but you can choose a flexible roster to suit your other commitments - like spending extended time with your family or using your week R’n’R to travel.  

Not only that, FIFO work sees you work on-site each day for up to two weeks, before you’re free to spend time, often 7 consecutive days, on all your other activities. This allows you create harmony in your life through the type of work you do, as you focus on one activity.

Paddl’s mission has always been to help you find meaningful opportunities to develop your experience. Part of that is making sure you can find opportunities that fit YOU, based on your experience and your lifestyle.

If you’re interested in learning more about the latest hospitality-based roles we have open, create you Paddl Profile here and join our Paddl Hospitality and Food Service Facebook Group to keep up to date on the latest opportunities!