The big lie about work-life balance is that it’s achievable.
It’s just a red herring.
The struggle for work-life balance does nothing but leads to stress and burnout.
It must end.
You see “balancing” is exhausting, never ending, and even painful.
When you were on the see-saw it probably seemed fun at first, but then you realized that balancing is much harder work than it looks especially when you can’t predict who you’re going to be balancing on the other end.
It’s also more complicated than it seems because you’ve got to balance perfectly with your partner when you get-off, or else you’ll end up on the ground or getting slammed on the back of the legs. Ouch!
It’s the same with work-life balance.
It’s a continuous struggle.
Once things seem balanced, you’re off running, shifting, and tweaking just to maintain.
Enjoy it quickly because the odds are that 10 minutes later you’ll be out of balance again.
Aren’t you sick of it?
Ready to try something new?
Is Your Work-Life Balance Stressing You Out?
It’s amazing that the standard that so many professionals are using to manage their own lives can generate so much stress.
You know you’re in danger of burning out from work-life balance if you ever:
- Find your calender managing you instead of you managing your calendar
- Can’t remember the last time you said ‘No’ to a request at work, home, or the bar
- Find yourself working late to get the job done but then beat yourself up on the drive home because you missed putting your kids to bed
- Fantasize about living life in perfect time allocation with time for work, family, exercise, and social activities
- Dream of a life where you’re getting 8-hours of sleep per night and still have plenty time to work your day gig and pursue your favorite hobby
Instead of Work-Life Balance, Try Work-Life Integration
The Cambridge dictionary defines work-life balance as the “amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy”.
This definition cracks me up because it assumes that doing your job and the time with your family are both different than actually doing things you enjoy.
Instead of a developing a plan for work-life balance, develop a personal strategy to bring work and life together.
Integration is about finding ways that things can fit.
When you integrate you’re not balancing and struggling; you’re finding creative ways to bring life and work together.
It’s an easier, less exhausting, more fun, and generally more authentic way to live.
Can I get an Amen?
Create Your Own Work-Life Integration
Now this entire mindset of finding ways to bring work and life together may seem a bit overwhelming, so it’s best to start in small increments.
Here are 5 simple ways to start to your own work-life integration
- Share something personal – In your next meeting or on your next conference call, start by sharing a personal story that lightens the mood. It doesn’t have to be diatribe, but it will connect with your co-workers on a deeper level.
- Host an office happy hour with new ground rules – Organize a happy hour and encourage everyone to bring a partner or a friend that doesn’t work for your same company. You’ll be amazed how this changes the dynamic and allows new connections and conversations on a much more personal level. You’ll also be surprised about how many common interests you have outside of work.
- Work remotely for a day – Try working remotely for one day and see how you can change up your work flow. Maybe block some time and get in a quick work out or even a power nap between meetings. This might be an uncomfortable idea but it’s worth trying. You may find yourself much more productive and much happier when you to control the flow of your work day.
- Bring your family and friends to work – Bring a picture or something personal to work that will allow you to connect with others, or simply start by asking others about their friends and family. This take allows you to connect over something on a more meaningful level than just discussing the weekend returns or sales numbers.
- Invigorate your work email – Have an inspiring newsletter sent to your work email that moves you. While many companies don’t allow work email for personal use, usually there are few restrictions on incoming emails. Sometimes even having a motivating headline in your mix of daily emails is enough to change how your work day comes together.
This Article was Written by Coach Ben Fanning and Originally Featured on BenFanning.com