Everyone has several things to do in a world that is constantly on the move. There is family, there is work, there are hobbies, and there is social life. Women, in particular, face challenges in attaining that perfect work-life balance. We are constantly struggling to fit in an impossible list of things in the twenty-four-hour time frame, which often is impossible. And what is worse is that when, despite our best efforts, we are not able to do everything, we feel guilty. This means that we push ourselves even harder, which is not good for us at many levels, be it mental or physical.
While we have to multitask, we can be smart about the whole thing. Also, I don’t believe we need to balance or feel that we have to do one task instead of the other. We have to follow ways to do what is required and not get overwhelmed.
So rather than behaving like trapeze artists trying to balance all the time, we should follow a different approach. And that is the approach of work-life integration.
In my opinion, we should aim to integrate all aspects of our lives instead of trying to balance them. Whether it’s work, family, or friends, we must realise that everything must be done and prioritised accordingly. None should take the place of the other.
There are a few simple ways to do that, which we have listed for you.
1. Find a Job You Love
One effective way to integrate work and personal life is by selecting a job you truly enjoy. When you are passionate about your work, you are less likely to experience boredom, anxiety, or stress. Although some stress is unavoidable, it becomes easier to handle when you find fulfilment in your work.
It is essential to have clear priorities in life. We cannot do everything we want every day. Some things are more important on some days, so they need to be given priority over others. So if, on a day, work needs to take precedence over other things, let that be. Also, we must remember that our priorities will change over time. What is critical today may not be critical tomorrow.
3. Practice Time Blocking Techniques
These techniques involve allocating specific time blocks/slots for different tasks, which allows you to concentrate solely on one task at that particular time. So, for instance, your first hour at work may be designated to checking mail, but having done that, you must focus on other tasks. This ensures that nothing else comes your way at that time, and once you have accomplished your task, you get a sense of satisfaction.
4. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are essential in life. We cannot let people or tasks take control of our lives. Be realistic while drawing your boundaries and communicate your limits to everyone. Don’t make it seem as though you are available for everyone and everything all the time. Teaching people how to treat you is crucial, so draw a line and never let anyone cross it. Have boundaries between your work and family life too. Once your work time ends, switch to family mode unless there is an emergency.
5. Seek Help
No one can do everything independently; we don’t have the ability or the time for that. Therefore, whenever needed, we must reach out and get help from those who can help, whether at home or work. Delegate as much as you can without feeling guilty. That will reduce our burden and the stress of trying to do everything on our own.
6. Take a Break
While work is essential, we can’t be working all the time. Our mind and body need rest. Therefore, taking a break is a good idea when one feels too overwhelmed or exhausted. This is especially true when one has been through a stressful time at work. A holiday can help refresh and rejuvenate one’s mind.
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7. Practice Mindfulness
It is quite possible to get overwhelmed and feel like you are all over the place when you multitask. Therefore, you must practice mindfulness by staying present and fully engaged in the task at hand. Follow the adage of ‘One thing at a time’ and see how productive you become. This will also help reduce stress and improve focus.
8. Be Realistic and Flexible
Though you may have several tasks lined up for the day, you must remember and accept that you may not be able to do everything on a particular day. Also, you may have to make room for emergencies or unexpected developments. Therefore, having a flexible approach always helps. You may have to reschedule your tasks or priorities.
So don’t try to balance different aspects of your life; instead, try and integrate all of them to make one wholesome whole. Your life is defined by everything you do, including your work, family, friends, home, hobbies and passions. Live your life how you want to, doing things you want to. It is not about work-life balance; it is about work-life integration. Follow that and you will find happiness and peace of mind.