In today’s world, work–life balance seems nearly impossible, and the pressure to keep work and life separate feels constant, yet unreachable. So, what do we do?
Many suggest the solution is to blend.
Let me explain.
In the Huffington Post article “Forget Work-Life Balance: Aim for Blend Instead,” work–life blending is when “life and work are seen as consistent and symbiotic, with work viewed as a genuine part of life.” And, this makes sense. The average person spends more than 50% of their waking hours at work, so why wouldn’t that be considered part of “life” and vice versa? We need to stop compartmentalizing work and life because both make up who we are.
So, how do you make work–life blend a reality? I have a few ideas.
First, understand and accept that your priorities can (and will) shift constantly. It’s just a fact of life one day can be completely different from the next. Monday you may have to stay at the office late to get a big project done and Tuesday you have to leave at exactly 5:00 to have dinner and a movie with a friend. Once you accept this and prioritize each day with this in mind, you’ll be more likely to make blending a reality.
Second, boundaries are essential. While you need to accept that your workload at home and work can change daily, it’s also important to set ground rules for yourself and the people around you. For example, you shouldn’t be checking your work email while you have friends over and you shouldn’t be texting in a family group chat for hours at work. Here are some specific things you can say if you want to establish clear boundaries:
- Friends & family: “I don’t want to be on my phone too much during the workday, so if there’s an emergency, it’s better to call me on my work phone. I’ll get back to random texts once I’m off the clock.”
- Coworkers/clients: “I’m heading out at 5:00 today and will be sure to get back to you tomorrow before noon. If anything urgent comes up before then, please let me know.”
- Yourself: “When I’m at work, I will be 100% at work. I will avoid answering texts by charging my phone upside down and setting a timer for how long I want to work on a specific task. When I’m with family or friends, I won’t be on my phone unless it’s part of the conversation.”
Third, make sure your work and life goals complement each other. By setting goals that include all aspects of your life, you’ll find blending to be easier to achieve. I made this a reality when I set a yearly goal to read more non-fiction books. This blends perfectly for me because it allows me to read and learn something new everyday, but it also keeps me up-to-date with trends in my industry (book publishing).
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As author and blending expert Anne Bogel explains in the episode “Work-Life Balance” of the Beyond the To Do List podcast, “the difference between blending and balancing your life is “balance forces you to compartmentalize the different parts of your life and blending allows you to really be you”. Work and life already blend together without us trying, so why fight that? Embrace all of the parts of you and see the pressure to keep everything separate and “perfectly balanced” (whatever that means) fade away.
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How do you blend your work and life together? If you aren’t doing this already, what ways can you make this a reality. Tell me in the comments below or reach out to me at any time!