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28th November 2019
You’ve heard of work-life balance (we’ve even written about it before), but in the current climate, it’s achieving a blend that could be the answer to your work-life woes.
The fact that we’re always connected makes it tough to ignore those late night email notifications, or the incessant ping of Slack or Skype. As well as this, more and more of us are taking advantage of flexible working, which means work is naturally finding its way into our homes in the form of laptops, home offices and technology in general.
Where work-life balance seeks to compartmentalise our home and work lives, a work-life blend looks to integrate them in a way that suits us as individuals – so the extent of your ‘blend’ depends on you and your needs. This method is more realistic in a world of devices and an ‘always-on’ culture.
Here’s a few changes you could make to effectively blend your work and personal lives in a way that ensures neither is left lacking.
We touched on this above, but it’s worthwhile investigating your companies flexible working policies to see if there are any options that would work even better for you.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to flexible working. Just some of the variants are:
Think about your time and what a work-life blend looks like to you. Would a major factor be being able to collect your kids from school? Or is there an exercise class you’d love to be able to attend, but it clashes with your work schedule? Consider this, then have a conversation with your employer about the viability of using flexible hours to better use your time in ways that make you happy and leave you feeling fulfilled.
From a personal perspective, what is important to you each week? Sitting down to eat with your family in the evening? Your self-care routine? Fitness? Walking the dog? Going to your child’s play/football match/art class?
Whatever it is, add it to your calendar. Treat this calendar entry as seriously as you would treat an important meeting or an upcoming deadline. By weighting your work and personal commitments in the same way, and diarising them too, you are able to take control over how your week looks, and ensure that you are effectively blending your responsibilities on both sides.
One way to set these boundaries is to create a loose framework of how your week will generally look. Plan chunks of time that are dedicated to work, and others that are dedicated to your home life.
Set the boundaries, but don’t feel bound to them. It’s an imperfect world, so there is always going to be a slight overlap; things run over, plans change, emergencies arise. Make your peace with the fact that it may not always go exactly to plan.
Also, there are small things you can do to lessen the overlap of your work life and your home life:
Taking your annual leave is important for a number of reasons. Not only have you earned it, but it’s also your chance to decompress, destress, and switch off from work entirely. Even if you don’t have a holiday planned or something in the diary, be sure to schedule regular breaks to both use up your allowance, but also to do the things that bring you joy.
Taking these well-deserved breaks is key to refreshing yourself, and will actually make you more productive and motivated when you return to the office.
Your work-life blend is personal to you, so it should evolve with you and your circumstances. Don’t feel married to your current strategies for integrating your personal and work lives.
Keep track of how you’re feeling at the end of each week or each month. Are you feeling like you got it right this week? Or is it not quite there yet? Adjust the tactics you’re using to achieve your blend, and then reevaluate at the end of the following week.
Ultimately, work-life blend is about stepping back from life or from work in such a way that you aren’t making sacrifices and compromises. There is a way to find fulfillment in a healthy, steady integration of both.
Try a few of these tips for yourself and see how you get on, and feel free to share your experience or your own tips too!