- Posted by Jon Harju
- On August 26, 2019
Many of us strive for work-life balance in our busy, modern-day schedule, but we’re often left frustrated and exhausted, tackling what feels like an impossible feat.
58% of Canadians report “overload” associated with their many roles – work, home and family, friends, physical health, volunteer and community service.
What is work-life integration?
Work-life integration has emerged as a more reasonable approach to managing it all. It creates synergies between our day-to-day professional and personal lives.
We all lead different lives with different pressures and not all professionals (i.e. teachers, healthcare professionals) are able to shape their work schedule as much as others (i.e. office workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs). But by acknowledging that we all have some control over our daily lives, we can look at the bigger picture and take the driver’s seat in better designing the flow of our days (to varying degrees).
4 ways to start introducing work-life integration into your life
Set boundaries for the sake of your health
We often fail to look after our health when we’re busy, but it’s important to prioritize our physical and mental health while we cross off items on our to-do list. Create structured personal time for yourself and your family by blocking it in your calendar and committing to it, i.e. gym time, family dinner, or coffee with a friend. This helps ensure your mental wellbeing is honoured alongside your work priorities.
Take control of your schedule
Consider speaking to your manager about facilitating more integration into your day. A few questions that can help guide the conversation include:
- Is it possible to work from home some days?
- What are the opportunities to integrate your work and life a little more?
Could you build in flexible hours? For example, work later on a Thursday so you can leave early on Friday for yoga in the park. Or, can you work on a project in the evenings when your kids are asleep so you can attend the school science fair on Monday.
Weave recreation and relaxation into every day
Aim to build more fun and self-care into each day as opposed to waiting for the weekends or your vacation days. Finding these big and small moments on a daily basis will help you recharge, improve your quality of life and mental wellbeing. For example, one day this could mean walking part way to work, a 10-minute meditation, lunch with a friend or a trip to the park with your kids after dinner.
Everyone works differently and operates according to different body clocks. Take some time to notice the hours you are more productive with greater focus and attention. These hours will be helpful in getting most of your work done efficiently as you focus more on the value you are creating instead of the time on the clock.
We can’t do it all, but we can perhaps do it better
We all desire our lives to be full of meaningful work and relationships. Work-life integration, just like work-life balance, is a framework to help us do this.
The biggest accomplishment for your mental health is acknowledging that no one can integrate work and life perfectly – some days, weeks and months will click more than others. But with regular practice, we can perhaps get a little closer in trying to make the ‘impossible’ somewhat manageable and more enjoyable.
Download Snapclarity to get the help you need, when you need it.