top of page

The Juggle is Real: Finding your work-life happy place in midlife

Updated: May 20

woman on a unicycle juggling

As career strategists for women in midlife (and being 50+ ourselves!), we see you. You're juggling a career (or exploring your next act), family responsibilities, self-care (we hope!), and the constant pressure to get it all right. 

Finding the ever-elusive “work-life balance” has always been difficult for women. In midlife, when so many career disruptors can come into play, it can seem nearly impossible.

But what if we could rewrite the narrative? What if work environments empowered women to thrive, not just survive? 

If work-life balance isn't happening for you, think about “work-life harmony” instead. 

Let’s look at how the two are distinctly different:

Traditional work-life balance implies setting clear boundaries between work and personal life, where you strive to allocate a certain amount of time and attention to each area in a way that neither aspect suffers. While this can be an ideal, it's not always realistic for midlife women facing multiple distinct unique demands.

Work-life harmony emphasizes integrating work and personal life in a way that complements each other. It involves finding synergy between work and personal activities, where they coexist to enhance overall well-being and satisfaction.

Rather than strict boundaries, work-life harmony allows for flexibility and adaptation in managing work and personal commitments, creating a more realistic and sustainable approach to managing your time and energy rather than one area competing with the other.

Harmony…sounds good, right? It also works for the moment we’re in. 

The advent of remote and hybrid work has opened up a new world of flexibility in many workplaces. This flexibility allows women to seamlessly integrate their work and personal lives, adjusting schedules to accommodate various priorities and responsibilities throughout the day. 

Check out the table below that highlights how to think about the difference when it comes to flexibility at work:  

Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Harmony


Personal ideal split between work and personal life

Holistic well-being/integration (not time-bound)


Strict boundaries

Boundaries depend on context


Rigid divide between work and personal life - zero-sum game

Work and personal life can influence each other positively


Work 9a-5p, reserve personal tasks for after work or weekends

Start work early to catch your child’s baseball game, then finish a few tasks in the evening.

Where do you see yourself? 

To put it simply:

Work-life balance is like a see-saw, striving for both sides to be level.

Work-life harmony is like a symphony, where different instruments (work, family, hobbies) play together to create a beautiful synergy.

One is not better than the other. The way we see it, work-life balance and harmony form a spectrum for thinking about work and life as a whole.

Some roles don’t allow for flexibility, so a work-life balance approach makes more sense regarding time management. But there are ways to find work-life harmony within your 9-5. 

For example, lunch with a work friend fulfills a personal need for social interaction. Participating in your company’s philanthropic endeavors or taking on a leadership role in a corporate affinity group allows you to give back during work hours. There are many ways to incorporate balance and harmony along the spectrum.

Neither work-life balance nor work-life harmony is a "one-size-fits-all" solution.Some people thrive with a clear separation between work and personal life (balance). Others prefer a more integrated approach where work and personal life can flow together (harmony).  By reflecting on your personality, lifestyle, and long-term goals, you can gain valuable insight into your preferred approach. 

And - we know from personal experience - which approach works best for you can change over the course of your career and life.

3 Tips to Audit: Work-Life Balance vs. Harmony?

Feeling torn about where you are on the spectrum between the structure of work-life balance and the flexibility of work-life harmony? 

Here are three tips to help you audit your needs and decide which approach resonates more with you:

Tip 1: Assess Your Personality and Preferences:

  • Do you thrive on routine and clear boundaries? Work-life balance might be a good fit, providing a structured approach to managing work and personal time.

  • Do you value flexibility and adaptability? Work-life harmony could empower you to adjust your schedule based on your needs and energy levels.

  • Think about your ideal workday: Do you envision clear start and end times with minimal interruptions or a more fluid integration between work and personal tasks?

Tip 2: Evaluate Your Current Lifestyle and Workload:

  • Do you have consistent childcare and family support systems? Work-life balance might be easier to maintain with a predictable schedule.

  • Does your job require constant availability or frequent deadlines? Work-life harmony's flexibility might be crucial for managing these demands.

  • Identify your biggest stressors: Does a strict separation between work and personal life help you de-stress, or are you okay with work bleeding into personal time and vice-versa?

Tip 3: Consider Your Long-Term Goals:

  • Do you prioritize a strict 9-to-5 schedule to dedicate evenings to personal development or hobbies? Prioritizing balance might be ideal.

  • Are you aiming for career advancement or seeking more flexibility in your future? Harmony's adaptability could support various career goals.

  • Think about your ideal work-life scenario in 5 years: Visualize how you want your work and personal life to coexist, considering long-term aspirations.

Join the Conversation!

We all have a role to play in rewriting the narrative! Share your biggest challenges and frustrations with work-life harmony in the comments below. Let's learn from each other and explore new solutions together as we adapt in real-time!

Together, we can build a work environment that empowers women to thrive!

The first step is understanding yourself better. Complete the "How To Of You" user manual to help you take a deep dive to discover your unique strengths and values in the workplace.


bottom of page