“Work-life balance” has been a buzzword for years, as companies and professionals struggle to be productive on the job while still building meaningful personal lives. But the balance remains elusive, suggesting that another approach is needed.
Enter “work-life integration”: The practice of coordinating all aspects of one’s life so they flow together into a seamless whole. The goal of work-life integration is optimizing the use of one’s time, so every essential task is tackled, whether it relates to job, family, household, hobbies, or volunteer work.
Here are several principles for understanding and achieving work-life integration:
End the war.
Many professionals struggle to achieve “work-life balance” because they see it as a feud between “work” and “life.” Instead, think about your life in terms of major “domains,” such as work, home and family, community and your inner life, as Wharton School professor Stewart D. Friedman recommends. When you approach the problem from this perspective, your life becomes a field in which you have the opportunity to improve both your work and personal life, without having to detract from each other.
Focus on your priorities.
Every job, home and life is different, so practicing integration means focusing on the factors that matter most to you. Do you do your best thinking during your workout? Does connecting with your friends rejuvenate you like nothing else does? Have you decided to take a close look at your health this year? When you clarify your priorities, you can better judge which tasks are “essential” and which can wait.
First, list everything you want to get done during the day, even if you don’t think you’ll have time for it. Include both professional tasks and personal ones, like calling your parents, going out to dinner or having some “alone time.” Then, start scheduling. “Life” gets out of balance with “work” only when we don’t prioritize and schedule life events the way we schedule work events. Designate space in your calendar for dinner, fun, exercise or other events. You’ll avoid accidentally allowing work to creep into those times, and the promise of them will create an incentive to get less exciting essentials out of the way, rather than procrastinate on them.
By adjusting your approach to managing your job and personal life, you’ll be able to optimize the integration between your job and career. When you do this, you’ll be able to keep your productivity high, while also being able to attend to the important things in your personal life.
If you find yourself needing to hire talent, consider partnering with a recruitment firm. Not only will they be able to take some tasks off your plate (and free up valuable time!), they can give you access to the area’s leading talent.
At TERRA Staffing Group, our recruiters work closely with our clients to help them find the right candidates and to build company cultures that promote excellence.
Contact us today to learn more about our recruitment services in Portland, Seattle and Phoenix.