‘Work/life balance’. The buzz phrase that has captured the attention of people all around the world. All of a sudden, it was something everyone started striving for, yet no one is really achieving it. When you think about it, why are we so set on equally balancing our work and our life? Why are we separating the two in the first place? It almost implies that we shouldn’t be enjoying our work, and we should focus on ensuring we ‘balance’ our lives with things we love to achieve happiness.
The glorification of the ‘busy’ these days has simultaneously puts pressure on us to incorporate ‘relaxation’ activitiesinto our lives, but we’re just ending up exhausted and feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having to get to that yoga class, or having to have a bustling social life at the same time. We’re told to separate our work and our personal lives and be present in what we’re doing. But this is actually causing us more stress, and we should come to the realisation that work/life balance isn’t for everyone. We should instead contemplate the art of integrating health, happiness and performance into our lives. We should be incorporating the things we love into our everyday lives, as this will lead to us achieving great things in our work. They go hand in hand.
For many people, work is their passion and they love immersing themselves in it. They feel energised by what they do. Trying to split their work and life can in fact cause stress and prove unproductive. Integrating work and life in a healthy way is what we should be striving for.
Here are four ways to achieve work/life integration and live a happier, more productive life.
How to achieve work/life integration
Take control and get physical.
It’s hard to believe sometimes, but we actually have more control over our daily schedules than we think. Give yourself permission to have power of your schedule and find out what works best for you. Try leaving at 5pm and have a break. Get to a class, go for a walk. Getting physical will increase oxytocin (the happy hormone) and you can come back to your work later in the evening, feeling energised and refreshed. Smashing out more work than you would have done if you’d stayed cooped up in the office.
Give yourself permission.
We often have negative, limiting thoughts and this impacts how we perform in our work and life. Giving yourself permission and changing your mindset will have a huge impact in your life. Sounds simple, but just try it.
Trial it out.
If the thought of implementing work/life integration sounds a bit overwhelming, start with baby steps and test what works for you. Request a trial period and ask to work from home one day a week or a late morning start so you can get to a class before work. If this energises you, it will enhance your productivity twofold. Being in a positive mental, physical and neural state will maximise brain function and you’ll see yourself pumping out in a more productive manner.
Ever tried to force yourself to be a morning person? Don’t waste your energy credits. Everyone is made differently. Some people have shorter attention spans, some people have longer focus abilities. If you stop spending your energy trying to operate a way that’s against your personal pace, you’ll end up exhausted. Stop trying to participate in the ‘trend’ of work/life balance if it doesn’t work for you. Embrace what works best for you. Do you work best in the late hours of the evening? Then go for it! Living at your personal pace will use less energy credits and you’ll then achieve stronger results in all aspects of your life. You’ll create more free time and strengthen your ability to integrate the things you love.
If we continue to separate our work and life, this can lead to unhealthy stress and anxiety. Let’s start integrating the things we love into our everyday life and start feeling energised about our life as a whole.
Words by Vanessa Bennett
About Vanessa Bennett
Vanessa Bennett is a high performance executive coach and presenter. She is the global CEO and founder of Next Evolution Performance. She helps leaders, individuals and teams improve their performance by incorporating the tenets of neuroscience into her coaching. Vanessa is also a part-time fitness instructor.