Critics of Work-Life balance term say that it forms an artificial distinction, as if work is not part of life. In response to this, the concept of work-life integration appeared. Let’s find out what it means.
How work-life integration is different from work-life balance
Work-life balance is an approach that creates synergy between different areas of life: work, home and family, community, health and a general sense of well-being.
A person who practices this approach can have breakfast with the family and take the children to school, work from 9 a.m. to noon, then have lunch and go to the gym, attend a work meeting in the afternoon, pick up the children from school and do lessons with them, and in the evening, a couple of hours before bed, respond to work email messages.
The idea that work and life are separated, is being discussed for many years. It made sense when everyone worked on the traditional schedule from 9 to 18. But in the age of digital technology, different aspects of life can intersect. If you have the opportunity to form a work schedule, integrating work into life would be a more convenient approach than clearly separating them.
However, work-life integration has pitfalls: when your to-do list seems endless, you may be tempted to fill every day with work tasks without paying attention to family, friends, health care, and other important things. In the end, you will just keep thinking about your work all the time.
How to achieve work-life integration
If you decide to integrate work into your life, try to follow the following rules.
Stick to the schedule
To ensure that you have time to do something during the day, put all the things in your calendar. It may seem strange at first that you reserve time for dinner with your family or practice, but this makes it more likely that these events will actually happen. If you keep an eye on how your day goes, it will be easier for you to make changes to the schedule and be more productive.
If you are not living alone, coordinate your schedule with your partner. This will allow you to prioritize your work and personal life and make your communication richer.
Find the perfect work environment
Some people like to work in the office, while others feel more comfortable when working at home. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic left no choice for many companies and they relocated their employees to remote locations. If you cannot concentrate at home, you can find an alternative option. For example, to go to co-courting.
Focus on productivity, not time.
It does not matter how many hours you spend at work. What matters is what results you achieve. The same is true of the time you spend with your friends and family. Focus not on how much time you have left on your personal life, but on the fact that the communication was intense.
It’s easy to earn money at a distance and you won’t notice that you’ve been sitting behind a notebook for 4-5 hours in a row. But short breaks are necessary. Try to work on a schedule of 45 minutes – 15 minutes rest. For example, set yourself one achievable goal and devote 45 minutes to it. After you have closed the task, take a short break – pour yourself some tea, take a walk, talk to the household.