There are very few who can neatly and easily compartmentalize work and family and personal pursuits. The thing is, as much as we’d like to separate work from life sometimes, work is a part of our lives—a major part of it. So the key to feeling happy and successful in both (and in every other area of your life) is not to perfectly balance them, but to find the healthiest ways to integrate them.
And that’s what we want to help you do today because it shouldn’t be a zero-sum game, where work takes away from your life and vice versa.
Follow our three favorite tips to better integrate life and work in simple ways that improve the quality of both!
Get Collaborative With Your People
There’s likely a lot of important people in your life—your family, your coworkers, your friends, your partner. Remember that you have this community in your life for a reason; to love and support and work for you as much as you love and support and work for them.
Reach out to your people and come up with ways you can better collaborate—on work projects, on family dinners, on weekend brunches—so the brunt of the work (whether personal or professional) isn’t always falling on you. How can the kids help you meal plan for the week? Can your partner coordinate details for your Friday night plans with the neighbors? Do you think your colleague would be willing to brainstorm some campaign ideas with you?
Remember that every relationship can be a collaborative one—and is likely to be a lot more enriching and rewarding when it is. Ask for help and get creative in community whenever you can!
Get Creative About Better Solutions
Whether you work for someone else or work for yourself, why not take some new integrative ideas to the “boss” or start implementing them yourself?
You could call your best friend back on your commute to the office, actually take your lunch break (away from your desk!) every day, or schedule a block of time in your planner to take care of personal tasks during your work day. And, on a company-wide scale, you might suggest working remotely one day a week, coordinating company-wide charity work days, or even scheduling in-office lunch hour workouts.
Instead of complaining about what’s not working, get creative about what could help you work better . . . at work and at home. Then offer up your solutions to the person in charge! It’s very possible that they (much like you) simply hadn’t considered these alternatives before. And if you can show proof that more integrated work-life solutions lead to greater employee happiness and productivity (there are plenty of studies to back you up!), you’re even more likely to get an enthusiastic green light to go ahead.
Get Conscious About What Work Contributes to Your Life
Even if you love your job, it can be all too easy to view it as the ambiguous entity that takes away from your life—taking your time, your energy, your focus. What would happen if you flipped the script in your own mind?
Instead of dreading Monday mornings, what if you spent Sunday evening (or any other day of the week) feeling gratitude for all that your work gives you? For most of us, work provides financial security, intellectual stimulation, exciting challenges and resulting personal growth, and community with like-minded folks. You can probably think of even more valuable contributions that your work provides to your life.
Pull out your Day Designer and write at least one work-related gratitude a day. You may soon find that, whether you love your job or you’re ready to move on to something new, your work adds a lot of positive benefits to your life, too.