Work / life balance. Is it the perfect solution for a well-rounded and fulfilling lifestyle where you’re getting the best of everything?
A lot of people state that finding this elusive work / life balance is top of their priority list and is a key consideration when it comes to moving roles.
I’m going to channel my inner Morpheus here (for those of you who remember the Matrix wink ), but what if I told you that your endless search for work/life balance may not be the catch all solution that you expect?
Sure, it sounds great in theory but there’s actually a new kid on the ‘work v lifestyle’ block who has a lot to offer and highlights some of the issues with the old school mentality of work / life balance.
Generally known as Work / Life Integration, please welcome the upgraded approach to managing your priorities and wellness.
So, let’s get to know our players ….
Work / Life Balance
Work / Life Balance is basically the concept that you have clearly defined boundaries between your work and personal lives. Within these boundaries you establish a set of rules to make sure that you’re prioritising your personal commitments in line with your work responsibilities and keep the two separate.
It’s fairly rigid and regimented – work is work, personal is personal and never the two shall meet.
Work / Life Integration
This approach is a lot more fluid as your day has elements of work and personal at times that are most logical, rather than within certain hours or parameters. Integration or blending brings together work and personal aspects to create a holistic view to your lifestyle, rather than segmenting it.
Often using technology to self-manage your priorities and commitments, you’re selecting and rearranging responsibilities and priorities to fit into and create the jigsaw puzzle of life.
For example, you might be checking emails over breakfast so that you have time to go for a run before work without missing out on anything important. You might be out with friends and meet someone who would be a great collaborator with your business.
You’re not compartmentalising your life or shutting down opportunities just because they occur at the wrong time – you might just need to reschedule them a bit.
Another interesting part of integrating is the introduction of personal goals aligning with career / work goals. With an increase in passion projects, side gigs, corporate ladder climbing and the quicker turnover in today’s workforce, the drive to work toward personal goals and development is only continuing to grow. This is a positive because you’re more invested, motivated and have an increased sense of achievement. By setting goals that will elevate both your work and personal development, everyone is a winner!
So, all of this highlights a couple of issues with Work / Life Balance …
The balance part comes into question as you’re constantly weighing up competing priorities and having to choose which you’re going to invest your time and energy into. The problem is, you’re always having to trade something off because you’re pitting the two against one another all of the time. What’s more important, hitting this deadline or getting the kids from school, for example.
Then, inevitability the guilt kicks in because you’ve established a mindset where you’re having to rationalise and rank each of your tasks or responsibilities.
Another is how realistic achieving this kind of balance actually is.
We’re online and available 24/7 to both our employer and our family/friends with society becoming increasingly grey when it comes to schedules. Work is no longer strictly 9-5 as open hours extend and we have more international and online trade. Not to mention shift, home based and flexible workers. Similarly, institutions like schools have very different demands and expected availability than they did 10 years ago.
Given these changes in access and the way the world around us works, it’s reasonable to see how trying to balance these constantly varying and changing responsibilities can be challenging.
So, why not embrace the ability to create a lifestyle that works for you as an individual? They’ll be times when you need to work more than usual and times when you need to invest in yourself or your personal life more. Don’t feel guilty about it, just make sure that you’re listening to your body and that you’re practicing moderation (read about that here).
Remember, it’s your life to live and love, so why not take the opportunity to make it exactly how you would like it? You are the master of your time and how you choose to use it.
There’s no better time than now to integrate your life to make it more streamlined, stress free (or at least a little less) and rewarding!
Do you integrate your work and personal life?