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Work/life integration - Is it working for you?

What is the difference between balance and integration?  Well, this is how I interpret them:

  • Balance is about creating two separate lives, work and play, and ensuring there is time for both
  • Integration is more around creating a situation where the two overlap, and are well aligned, allowing time for both work and play
  • Imbalance is when work and play are constantly encroaching on each other, there is no down time, and whatever you are doing, you feel like you should be doing something else....
I have really tried to build an integrated life.   Laptops, tablets and smart phones have made it almost possible.

There have been some significant positives and negatives.   And my family would be able to share a lot of them, fortunately, none of them have blogs!

So what is integration?
  • It is integration to respond to emails over weekends so that you can go to a swimming gala on a Friday afternoon
  • It is not integration to play Candy Crush at your desk during working hours
  • It is integration to work in the hospital waiting room while waiting for your child to wake up from shoulder surgery
  • It is not integration to plan your child's birthday party at the office and print all the invitations on the company printer
  • It is integration to complete RFIs in the evening so that you are able to go to a friend's birthday breakfast on a Monday morning
  • It is not integration to update your Facebook profile with your weekend events for the first hour at work every Monday, and tell yourself you are business networking.
If integration sounds a lot like a flexible work schedule, it certainly is a part of it.   The differentiator with real integration is that it is an adult to adult arrangement with your company ie nobody needs to check on your deliverables, because you ensure that everything is on track.   When you are taking those time outs to do personal stuff, your line management know and agree, because the trust relationship is in place.

Is it easy to achieve?  Not at all.

Is the compromise more on the family side than work one?  Then it isn't integration, its lip service to a balanced life and your family know it!

More and more, people want their work to be fulfilling and empowering, taking them in directions which help them grow, and enjoy each day, both at work and at home.   Integration allows for this, but there are times when you have to put everything into your career, and there are times when your family needs your total attention.   

Its no good being at that gala if you miss your child's swim because you are on the phone, negotiating the next big deal.   You need to be present in whatever you are doing, but allow for interruptions in both spaces as well as planned work only / play only times.

Good luck.   It is that clich√©, a journey, and there are detours and bumps along the road.   When it works, it really is fulfilling, when it doesn't, you need to rethink, replan and maybe try a slightly different approach.   A life coach or great mentor can help, too.  Objective, interested input is unbelievably valuable.


Links, References and Notes

Accsys

email:      tschroenn@accsys.co.za
twitter:   @TerylSchroenn

RFI = Request for Information - usually tender documents


Note


Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source



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