IGNITE August 2020
What do you mean work and life can co-exist?
Work-life integration was not a term I was familiar with before Wednesday morning. I heard it at Breakfast Buzz and immediately searched it after the event was over. After my search, I realized I had been in a work environment that closely mimicked work-life integration for the past few months.
Work-life integration is “an approach that creates more synergies between all areas that define ‘life’: work, home/ family, community, personal well-being, and health” (UC Berkeley).
During the shelter in place, I was one of those who was lucky enough to work from home. While it was an adjustment from working in the office all day, I found myself falling into a routine and getting more work done. I am not a morning person, so being able to work in the later morning, afternoon and sometimes in the evening allowed me to be more productive. However, this all came with practice. … Luckily, I have had close to four months to practice this. (Thanks COVID!) This isn’t to say I have figured everything out. I had distractions and trials and errors with different options.
Here is what I found helped me when figuring out how to make work-life integration the best option for me.
1. Create a Schedule or To-Do List
a. Create a To-Do List with your tasks for that week (work related and nonwork related). Be sure to make time for yourself and work.
i. Tip: Even if you think you will remember the task, write it down! Trust me.
b. After creating the list, rank each task by priority. If the tasks do not have a “due date,” create one for yourself and stick to it.
c. That planner you bought for 2020 wasn’t a waste of money! Use it to keep track of your never-ending Zoom meetings and the tasks you need to do for the week.
2. Allow yourself to take breaks, but make sure you put a time limit on them
a. Breaks are necessary, especially if you are staring at a screen for the majority of your day, but make sure you keep them under control. I know how tempting it is to just watch one more episode of your current show on Netflix, but we both know that it won’t just be one more.
b. Set an alarm to let yourself know that it is time to go back to work.
c. Breaks can be used to run errands, connect with family or friends for lunch or going to an appointment.
3. Create boundaries:
The best part of work-life integration is that life and work get to walk in hand and hand. Don’t let work or life take over. Set boundaries and stick to them.
a. Create a space in your home that is for work only. If you live with other individuals, let them know when you have important work calls and when you need to focus on a big project.
b. Remember that once your workday is over, leave that work space alone until the next day. It is tempting to work and work, but remember your family and friends need time with you as well. Constantly working also leads to burnout, and that isn’t fun for anyone.
This approach may not work for everyone, but the ones it does work for, it makes a world of difference.