The Best Reality is Work-Life Harmony, Not Balance
I’m a ponderer, a thinker, a daydreamer – so the end of 2013 (or the beginning of 2014, depending on your perspective) is not a “trigger” for me to reflect on the past or set goals for the future. I do it all the time. Every day. One thing I look forward to every week is reading the Sunday paper – all of it. Even things I’m not necessarily interested in. (OK, when I start reading some articles I zone out, realize it, and move on – but I try to read most everything. Even advertisements.) Reading the Sunday paper not only stimulates my thinking, it relaxes me and ties in both reflection and potential views into my future.
One of the primary reasons I started my own consulting business was because I knew (not just felt – KNEW) I could do “more”, and I could do that more “better” without the confines of a corporation. I spent 15 years working for large and small health care information technology corporations, and along with my years of clinical laboratory experience, that experience is invaluable – it’s set me up for where I am today. To be honest, I didn’t have one shred of “balance” between work and life in many of those years – it was 90% or more tipped toward work. And I knew it, but it became easy to be a workaholic. (I really, truly enjoyed what I did, which probably didn’t help the “life” part of my world.) Now that I’m my own boss (a.k.a. the best boss I’ve ever had) I find it even easier to work, work, work. Granted, I attend my niece’s softball games and dance shows and my nephew’s marching band competitions these days, but it’s still really easy to fall back into work when your primary place of work is at home. As a recovering workaholic, it’s still easier to work and leave life as it is.
In the 12/29/13 StarTribune, Ross Levin’s Gains & Losses column in the Business section, the ever-elusive “work/life balance” was mentioned. I almost moved on at that point, as I am a firm believer the two can ever be balanced. But I kept reading, and he replaced the word “balance” with “harmony” – and that really struck a chord with me. I completely agree that work-life is always in flux – one is always more dominant for me at any given time. Looking at work and life through a lens of harmony was a lightbulb moment for me, and a pretty perfect reflection on another major reason why I started my own company – flexibility in how and where (and with whom) I spend my time.
Since starting Tawni Reller Consulting, I’ve had a lot more harmony in my reality. My opportunities have been varied, keeping me interested in health care, information systems, industry challenges, and people. I can work from home during normal business hours, or whenever. I can leave for two weeks to spend time with friends and family and work from wherever I am. I’m more centered (physically and mentally) which has increased my curiosity and my focus; I have more time and less wasted time (no more 19 mile, 2 hour commutes on snowy mornings); I have different stress (I don’t think it’s less stress, but definitely different). I work more efficiently and I’m doing some good work for some great clients.
Harmony. It’s my present, and it’s my goal to have it be my future, too.