Forget work-life balance. Work-life integration is the new “thing.”
I recently came across an article from Inc. that made this announcement. The premise of the article attracted me right away: it pointed out the most irreconcilable flaw in the idea of a work-life balance.
Professional vs. Personal? What’s Wrong with a Work-Life “Balance”
According to Inc., the concept of a work-life balance basically communicates the idea that you can keep your personal and professional lives separate.
Naturally, this sets you up for failure. Your personal life and work-life are not two opposing forces that can be “balanced” by intense scheduling and organization efforts. As the article says, “They are two parts of a whole. Your business is the subset of your life.”
A work-life balance rejects the harmony required to really get the most joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction from your personal experience.
Instead of the outdated work-life balance idea, a fluid work-life integration that allows you to prioritize and respond accordingly helps you succeed even throughout life’s ups and downs.
This system creates a synergy between all of the aspects of your life, helping you build a mindset that can blend your personal and professional lives into one consolidated whole.
Compared to the work-life balance that positions your personal life and professional life as opposing forces, the work-life integration idea can help you respond to the various areas of your life to the best of your ability.
Your Personal Life and Professional Life Come Together as Your Life
Both your personal life and your professional life merge — whether you like it or not. Together, they create the full experience of your life.
Think about it, when you move through your daily schedule, are you really able to separate and isolate your experiences? Stressors from one area of your life will leak into the others. Excitement, whether it’s related to business or personal matters, will enliven you while you’re at home and at the office (or at the home office).
In my opinion, a work-life balance is bulls#(%. The whole “balance” thing — what does that even mean?
The way I look at life, the thing you’re focused on is the thing you’re focused on. Whether it’s work or personal matters, it could take up 100% of your concentration, or 80%, or 60%... So what is balance?
Following Your Mojo for Optimum Integration
If you choose to focus on things that help you enjoy your life, you’re being caught up in the constant flow of integration.
When we live and work within our character traits, which really means doing what we enjoy, that’s the real balance-point of our lives.
Sure, some things may take more time — you might be dedicating 80% of your energy toward your work to prepare for a big proposal, or 60% to your home life during the holidays — but it all ebbs and flows.
That fluidity is the beauty and logic of the work-life integration model.