Work-life balance is one of the biggest buzz phrases of the decade. Basically, people woke up one day and decided that they did not want to sacrifice joys in life to get ahead at work. There are different schools of thought. One is to strictly work during allocated hours, resisting the temptation to check e-mail at night or on weekends. Another is to flexibly integrate work and life.
Early in my career, I let work become my identity. Yes, I actively chose it and let it be everything because I figured that was the only way to get ahead. However, the opposite happened. I found myself burnt out and constantly stressed. Both work and my personal life suffered.
10 years later, I have adopted the school of thought that allows an integration of work and life. Sometimes I work all night and, other times, I shut down my e-mail and do not think about it until the next day. I have found this method has made me much more creative, relaxed and content. I have included the following practices in my life:
1) Writing – Whether it’s blogging or journaling, writing helps me create clarity in my experiences and to use them as building blocks for growth.
2) Exercise – My favorites are running, yoga and interval training. I try to do it at least 4 days a week.
3) Time with family and friends – I try to make this quality, uninterrupted time. My goal is to turn off the cell phone and to be fully attentive with them.
4) Meditation and Spirituality – All you need is 5 minutes when you can squeeze it in! Start small. You can define your own spirituality. It may be yoga, mediation, services or volunteering.
5) Time wasters (JUST ADDED) – Right now, it’s fantasy football and (I am ashamed to admit this) an undisclosed Netflix series. I think that this has been a good addition because it’s basically brain candy and, actually, sometimes my ideas mutate during the viewing time. Warning: Time wasters are great and all but be sure to limit them.
Through all of this, I have finally opened myself up to an integrated life. I lump community leadership, continuing education, reading and studying industry trends in the work category.
What’s your secret to an integrated life?