It’s Time to Let Go of Work/Life Balance

“I need to get this personal errand done but I don’t know when I will find the time.”

“I want to turn off my computer, but I have to finish these reports. Ugh, I’m going to miss family time again.”

“I would love to just relax, but I need to check email. I always have to be  available.”

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

We talk about finding more “work/life balance” all the time. People write articles (like this one!), speak about it, complain about it, and wish for it. And yet…

We still end up tired and overwhelmed by the end of the day.

Well, I’m here to say it’s time to stop pretending we can balance work and life in today’s era of constant contact, and start INTEGRATING work and life in a way that is productive, relaxing, and prevents stress-eating.

I think we need to let go of the idea that balancing work and life is an either/or, and instead accept what is the now: we are always able to be in contact. Always near an iPhone, an iPad, a computer, a telephone, a hotspot. And we are driven by our culture and society to want to check in, to want to know what is on Facebook, what is on email, and what is happening at work. It makes completely unplugging difficult at the best of times, and virtually impossible at others.

So, how do you make a change? How do you create more space in your life for you?

Step 1: Admit you have a problem, and then accept that you lead a life that demands more in terms of contact. So…let go of the guilt (go on, it’s ok!).

Step 2: Spend some time looking at your calendar. Your life is probably driven by your outlook or google calendar, but yet we so often forget to put in time just for us. Once you accept that your life as a whole is one of connection, then make your LIFE a part of your day. Calendar in time for yourself at night – calendar in time with your family. Calendar in a walk, a workout, and time for reading. Even if not specific, block it off. This is your time – and YOU deserve to be on YOUR calendar.

You deserve to be on your calendar!

Step 3: Take a another look at your calendar, especially the work part of it. Now, I want you to ask yourself this question: “What am I doing out of habit, and what am I doing out of necessity?” Are you checking email on a Friday night and responding to client requests out of habit? Or are you doing it out of necessity (because someone’s life is at risk or your job is at risk?). If the answer is a sheepish “out of habit” then I want you to seriously consider not checking email on a Friday night if it means you get sucked into work that can be done on Monday morning instead. If your answer is one of necessity, then I want you to ask: “Is it REALLY?” Go back to the “is someone going to die, or is my job at risk” question because in some cases, we like to think what we are doing is necessary, but the truth is that we are kidding ourselves. It ISN’T necessary…it is just what we are used to doing. I know this last step is not easy, but I also know you can do it (you made it to the end of this article, didn’t you? Yay!)

So, here’s to you and a better work/LIFE integration!