As a functioning member of society, it’s safe to say you have a lot going on. Working to pay the bills, taking care of the kids, picking up the house, the list goes on for years. Regardless of what you do for a living, what would you say is one of the most important things to you when it comes to your work? A lot of people might say it’s the salary, or the benefits, which I would agree are very important. But, if I had to take a guess, I would also say that work-life balance is pretty high up there on people's lists. People are trying all sorts of things to obtain some sort of work-life balance, and I don’t blame them.
No matter how much you might love your job, work is stressful and you would probably rather be at home with your family. It seems like the workweek is no longer your typical 9-5, am I right? You leave earlier and get home later by the day. By the time you get home, it’s almost time to go to bed. It’s exhausting. Where is the time to do the things YOU actually want to do??
That’s where the work-life balance theory came into play. People strive to achieve it because it seems like a win-win situation. You can still focus on your job while having time for yourself and your family. However, doesn’t it seem like no matter how much you try to have a work-life balance you just don’t? No matter how many articles you read on work-life balance it just doesn’t seem realistic? Because that’s what it seems like to me.
With that being said, I came across an article in Forbes that talked about how it might not be. The article talks about moving away from work-life “balance” and going towards work-life “integration” because what does balance even mean in this crazy world? Is it even obtainable? That got me thinking. Maybe they’re onto something. Maybe we need to shift the way we think about it to be more of an integration. I decided to do more research and take my own approach on their topic, so if you are in the same boat as a lot of people, you may as well keep reading to see if this is a more realistic way to go about it!
Integration is a completely different approach to the work-life balance approach that we are used to. So, what does work-life balance mean to you? What is it exactly that you’ve been trying to obtain? I think one of the reasons why this is so difficult for people to implement successfully is because it has a different meaning to everyone. Everyone has a different life, a different job, and different needs.
To some people, work-life balance might mean getting home by 6 pm every night in time for dinner. To other people, it might mean working remotely a few days a week. This makes things tricky because you might also have a different definition than your boss does. The first step in the integration approach is to sit down and really think about what this concept means to you and what you would like your life to look like.
From there, you can go to your employer and tell them exactly what you are looking for, what your goals are and what you would like to see. This should make it easier for everyone to be on the same page and to figure out a way to get it done.
Once you have your definition, your next step is going to be setting priorities and boundaries. If being home by dinner and being able to eat with your family every night is a priority, then make it known. Don’t schedule meetings for later in the day and be as productive as you can to leave on time. But, on the flip side, you also have to make boundaries at home.
If you want to create that integration and have more time at home, when you are at work try and be as present and productive as you can be (we will go into further detail on this in a minute). Make boundaries with your family and with your friends so they are on the same page as you and know exactly what you need from them.
How easy is it at work for your mind to suddenly drift off to what you’re doing over the weekend or what you have going on later in the day? I’ll answer for you. It’s very easy. I got another one for you. Have you ever been sitting at your desk working or even at home on the couch and feel the urge to just check your social media real quick? I know that happens to me...all the time. And, when you have five different social media platforms, that “really quick” can take quite some time.
It’s so easy to get sucked into social media and lose productivity on what you were working on or not pay attention to those around you. Guilty. As. Charged. I challenge you, to try actually being present in whatever it is you’re doing. If you are at work, focus on your work and getting it done. If you are at home, spend time with your family or your friends. I promise you, whatever is on your social media can wait. You’d be surprised how long “real quick” can be.
When that screen time notification first came out, I was mortified at the amount of time I was staring at my phone in one given day. It’s just so easy to get caught up in whatever you’re looking at and before you know it, you’ve wasted hours of your day on absolutely nothing. Take that time and put it towards something productive at work and get out of there on time so you can be with your family!
And finally, don’t beat yourself up if your strategy doesn’t always go according to plan. We talked about how the idea of “balance” isn’t going to be obtainable 100% of the time. In fact, what even is obtainable 100% of the time? Probably not many things. Life happens people.
If you don’t make it home in time for dinner one night or you took a little longer to get something done at work than you would have liked, don’t kill yourself over it. What good is that going to do you? Accept that it isn’t going to be perfect and you’re already ahead of the game 😊
So there you go! A different approach to this work-life balance thing we have all been trying to master for so long. Try steering away from the idea of balance and into something more tangible and approachable. You might be thinking, you work for a window film company, how does this relate to your company?
Well, it doesn’t relate to our window film field specifically, but it does relate to who we are as a company and who our customers are. We strive to have that “balance” or “integration” in our company because it is really important to us. We also work with business owners and many other kinds of personas and see how stressful it can be.
We thought writing about it might spread some awareness on some different ways to go about this tricky topic. If you have any ideas on this topic, please feel free to comment below or reach out to us, we would love to hear from you!
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