It’s taken me almost a decade to realize that work life balance doesn’t actually exist. There is no way we can equally balance each area of our lives all at the same time. It’s completely unrealistic and doesn’t work with life in general. However, what does exist is work-life integration.
My friends often make fun of me because the lines between work and play in my life are very blurry. The way I see it, I just live. Here are some of the ways you can create work-life integration in your life.
Get out of the box.
For some reason, we have a very linear way of thinking when it comes to work-life balance. We assume we can stick to perfect schedules. Or, that we should stick to perfect schedules.
Anyone with kids, a family, friends, or just a life, in general, will tell you this is completely impossible. That’s why the first step is to realize you need to get out of this “box” society is trying to put you in. Once you do that, you will feel an incredible sense of freedom.
Love what you do.
Loving what you do is a pre-requisite to creating work-life integration. As cliché as it may sound, if you love what you do then it will not feel like work. Don’t get me wrong, there will be days that are frustrating, but even those days won’t be as bad if you love your work.
Chances are that if you’re in business for yourself, then you already have this part covered. Most people wouldn’t work 80 plus hours a week unless they actually liked what they were doing.
Find ways to blend work with play.
Another way to create work-life integration is to find ways to blend work and play. The reality is that life is pretty fluid and you can do both at the same time.
For example, I recently got derailed in my work routine because I was unfocused. I just couldn’t get client work done. Instead, a friend and I did an impromptu photoshoot for Instagram marketing. That was still technically work, but it was a lot of fun.
Additionally, a lot of my socializing is connected to work. I might go to networking events or meetups for work and they just so happen to be at bars. Or, I’ll go to networking events at group fitness classes. My coworking space also has events all the time.
Create location independence.
The ability to create location independence will greatly serve you on your path to creating work life integration. Being able to run an entire business from my laptop comes in handy when I want to take a random trip, need a change of scene or need to speak with clients on the other side of the world.
If you haven’t found ways to build scalability and move your business online, 2018 may be the year to do it. The simple ability to work from anywhere (or from your phone) makes it easier to live and work at the same time.
Work-life integration is far more achievable than work-life integration. It’s more fluid and takes into account that you cannot completely control life. It also let’s you off the hook from trying to run your life and business on a perfect schedule.
Amanda is a best-selling author of "Make Money Your Honey", a book that helps freelancers and business owners understand their relationship with money and how to make it more productive. She's driven by helping others live the most productive and fruitful way possible.