“Work-life balance”, we’ve all heard it before, right! What it exactly means is that you are supposed to separate your work life and your personal life at a harmonious 50/50. Meaning that when you are at work, your personal life does not interfere, and vice-versa. Seems all nice and perfect as a concept, but we all know how almost impossible this is with life nowadays. We are just an email away to be back into our work life when being home, and we are just one text away from our friends messaging us at work to drive our attention to our personal life rather than work. Needless to mention Facebook and Instagram…

There is also a semi-new concept, which is called work-life integration. Work-life integration is basically the concept of both work and personal life being integrated one into another into a synergistic way to improve effectiveness and happiness.

I personnaly mostly advocate for a work-life integration rather than a work-life balance. I don’t think you can evenly separate both spheres of your life at all time, therefore I believe a work-life integration is much more adequate and sustainable, and it has worked very well for me over the last couple years and I would love to share with you what I have learned from it.

Below are my 7 best tips for an optimal work-life integration, folks!

1. Love what you do
Since when has it become normal to hate our jobs? No one should have to go through a whole career hating their job. Nowadays we spent almost more time at work then home and hating your job (or your boss) will make you miserable in your personal life as well, and then you end up being unhappy and unfulfilled in both spheres of your life.

If you are unhappy in your job, I say something must change. You have 3 options:
– Change “What” you do: change career, role, workplace.
– Change “How” you do what you do: Change your mindset about what you dislike about your work
– Change nothing and assume being miserable: Not recommended!

Life is too beautiful and worth living to hate half of it. Be passionate about what you do or focus on the part that you love about your job.

2. Focus on productivity and not the number of hours spent
“Work smart, not hard”! In today’s society, being “busy” has become the new cool. I used to be “busy” too, I am not better than anyone else. I barely had time to see friends, exercise or even return my friends and family’s calls. I was always at work or working from home, managing and conducting all work projects and deliverables. I was successful, but I had no personal life, there was no balance or integration at all at that point.

Then one day, I asked myself, what is the point of being so busy, that people (and myself) take pride in it? I think I would much rather be productive in a shorter number of hours and have the ability to enjoy life and take time for myself. Be efficient in your work so that it takes you less time in your day.

To increase productivity, start by analyzing what time of day you are most productive. Most of us, are very productive early in the day, we hit a higher point of fatigue beginning of afternoon, and then re-energize end of afternoon, early evening. That is, of course if you are not a night owl kind of person.

This means, prioritize brain-consuming tasks in the morning and more easily manageable or administrative duties in the afternoon. This way you maximize your brain potential on the appropriate tasks at the appropriate time of day!

3. Find your ideal work environment
In order to focus on productivity rather than hours spent, you obviously need to find your ideal workspace. Is working from home ideal and possible for you? If so, find in your house the room or place where you feel productive, inspired and focused. If you can’t work from home, ensure you personalize your office space in a way that you feel happy and comfortable in it. Add pictures, frames, plants, etc. Make it lovely and productive!
Personally, I love working outside during the summer or in a room inside the house where it is bright and inspiring.  Play some music, or use a sound-cancelling headset. Basically, find what works for you.

4. Be flexible and do not try to compartmentalize
In order to achieve work-life integration, you must be flexible. The very goal of integration is that you are intertwining both world in a synergistic way because work and personal are co-living. Especially nowadays with less people than before working a 9-5 job, it is hard to put a hard stop to work at 5:00PM. Therefore, be ready to have work intrude on your personal time, and vice-versa. Do not try to compartmentalize.

5. Use technology to your advantage
It is amazingly easy to become chained to our cellphone now, or to become unhealthily addicted to social medias. I think the key is in using technology to our advantage. Easier said than done, I know! I recommend using a laptop (if you aren’t already) which allows you to work from anywhere. As for your cellphone, especially for social medias, be careful and mindful what you feed you mind with. Follow influencers that inspire you and make you feel good and motivated. Ditch the rest! Use technology to your advantage, don’t let technology take advantage of you.

6. Take breaks
It is an old concept now that break or naps are for the weak. I think the smart ones understand the importance and value of having your brain working optimally. In order to do that, there is only one way: taking breaks, disconnecting to recharge…and even power naps. Power naps can have a tremendously positive impact on your energy. An ideal power nap is between 10-20 minutes only. Go somewhere you can relax and set an alarm. Don’t oversleep or you will be groggy and won’t have the wanted benefits of a power nap.

7. Involve your family and/or your partner
To have a successful integration of work and personal, I recommend you try to involve your family or your partner into what you do or at least have their support for your endeavours. You might want to inform them that you are going to start to have a work-life integration, and communicate effectively with them what it is, why it could be helpful and beneficial for everyone and how they could help you.

If you need any more help regarding work-life integration and creating efficiency in your life, contact us at info@avenue-consulting.ca or call us at 587-575-5332.