Work-life balance, having work and life on opposing sides with just the perfect amount of time spent on each side – is not achievable. This pursuit of perfection will never happen. Life is messy. Instead, focus on building your unique lifestyle where you are okay with how you prioritize different elements of your life. That is a work-life balance (or integration) to me.
Teaching others how you want to be treated is a key element of work-life balance. By setting boundaries, we teach others how we want to be treated.
You cannot blame your boss or your company. It starts with you.You need to set boundaries and teach others around you how you want to be treated. Click To Tweet
Setting boundaries when establishing your work life integration
Setting boundaries are a cliché, but it is one of thee most important things in achieving your unique work-life blend. If the environment remains unreceptive to you, then you need to decide whether it is the right environment.
Answer these questions for yourself:
– Are you taking work calls after 18h00/19h00 during your personal/ family/ dinner time?
– Do you ‘avail’ yourself when you are meant to be on vacation
-Missing out on key family and school events?
– Do you happily take on assignments on a Friday due for Monday on a recurring basis? In this, you know that it means a hard slog on the weekend?
Now if all of these things above make you feel fulfilled and challenged then that is okay! However, if it bothers you, you should set boundaries.
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If the above scenarios are habits, it means you have a boundary issue.
Set boundaries and teach others how you want to be treated
It takes a firm commitment to your life choices to stand up and tell someone very senior… ‘actually I cannot tend to a regular 18h00 session’. However, it must be done, and the change starts with you. Look for opportunities in your space where you can challenge the status quo. Keep it professional, flexible and always keep the deliverable in mind and work towards that.Be flexible in your boundaries, but be firm. Create your style of work life integration and own it. Click To Tweet
It is important to be flexible in your boundaries, but you need to define your lifestyle. Then work towards that.
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The trade offs
Many trade-offs happen as you start to take ownership of your situation. You might rub some people up the wrong way, but you have to start somewhere. Unfortunately, a culture permeates through many organisations that if you are not ‘always on,’ you are simply not working hard enough.
If working mothers don’t challenge the culture of ‘always working’ who will? I think that working mothers (and fathers in fact) are the ones who can have the biggest impact on company culture. The price that working parents will need to pay to sustain the culture of ‘always working’ is too high. And that will serve as motivation to challenge the status quo.
So, pick one thing in your life that you will change today to improve your work-life balance. Whether it’s leaving on time, not logging on on a Sunday, or eating lunch away from your desk. Just that one thing. Go. Do. It.
Tell me in the comments, what is your tip for work life integration?