5 Ways to Create Better Work/Life Integration
As ambitious moms we are all the things…mom, employee, boss lady, wife, housekeeper, short-order cook, chauffeur…and there’s more! Which is why it’s extremely important to get really good at “balancing” it all.
Actually, as sexy as it sounds, work/life balance is kind of a myth. It’s not likely that you’ll ever really equally distribute your time between your career and your home life. It’s really more about integrating life & work in a way that works for you and your family. And that may look different for each of us.
Whether you’ve been on the verge of burnout, about to lose your mind or just feeling like you need to make some changes, here are 5 Ways to Create Better Work/Life Integration.
Set Clear Boundaries Around Your Time
Do you find yourself checking your email while you’re not at work? Maybe just a quick check while you’re watching TV or while you’re waiting for your kid to get out the shower. “I’m just going to check it real quick to make sure nothing happened or no one needs me” Or maybe you decide to put off working on a project until you get home where it will be “quieter” (except now you’re cutting into family time). My all-time fave is “I just need to do this real quick before I forget.”
We all do it…myself included. The result is your kid or your spouse saying, “you’re always working.” Ugh! Then the guilt settles in for playtime and you start beating yourself up. Next thing you know, you’re back at work doing it all over again and then can’t figure out why you never seem to have enough time off.
Let’s just agree that we need to stop doing that and create clear boundaries around our time. How do you do that?
- Decide what days and hours you will work
- Make a plan
- Stick to it
“But I don’t have a typical Monday-Friday schedule.” I hear you…I worked shift work and on-call days for years. No excuses Momma! You can still create some guidelines for yourself and stick to them.
Practice Saying No
Alright, say it with me…”No.” Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Did you know that “No” is a complete sentence? This means that you can say “No” and you don’t need to follow it with trying to explain yourself. Here are some of my favorite ways to say “No.”
- Awww, thanks! But it’s a no for me.
- I would love to join you after work for drinks, but I’ll have to take a rain check.
- I would love to help you with that, but I’d hate to commit to something I can’t follow through on
- I’m so sorry, but I’m not going to be able to help this time
If you’re a people pleaser and usually have a hard time saying no unless you have a really valid reason, this will take some practice. And it will probably be uncomfortable at first. I promise it gets easier the more you practice it.
Sacrificing your personal time to try to please others (even your boss) is not doing yourself or the organization any favors in the long run.
Compromise on Deadlines
A co-worker emails you with a request to do something, and asks you to do it by Friday. But your schedule is packed and there is no way you’ll be able to get it done with sacrificing some time with your family or even your own self-care time.
No worries! Just compromise on the deadline. You could say something like, “I would love to help, but I won’t be able to get to it until Monday. Is that doable?” More than likely, they will be willing to compromise. Now you get to binge-watch Designated Survivor instead of working till 9pm.
Your boss emails you with another project to work on and to ask you for another favor, and your first thought is “when am I supposed to have time to do this?” or “when am I supposed to have time off.” You might not feel comfortable telling your boss “no” and I don’t particularly recommend it, but all hope is not lost. It doesn’t mean you need to work extra hours or on the weekends and cut into your family time.
Just be honest with them. This is where you compromise and let them help you prioritize things.
It sounds something like this…
“I would love to help. Here’s what I have on my schedule right now…” (then list out your schedule or all the projects that you are working on and when you plan to complete them).
“What would you suggest I delay so I can get this done for you?”
Likely, your boss will either say “Oh, there is no rush. Let’s just wait on this” or they will give you instructions on how you should prioritize.
Honor Your Commitments to Yourself
If you make a commitment to a team member, you follow through on it, right?! Why are you not doing the same for yourself? If you’ve made a commitment to yourself to take better care of your health, practice self-care or spend more time doing things you enjoy, you need to start honoring it just as much as you would honor a commitment to your boss. Why? Because doing this builds trust with yourself that you will do what you say you will do…for yourself. This is how personal goals get accomplished. And no one ever dies saying “I wish I would have spent more time working.”
This is such an important skill to learn. It’s the key to being able to let your mind rest from work and actually enjoy your personal time. Allow yourself to rest and take a break from thinking about work, and you’ll be more productive and efficient when you do go back to work. It will allow you to go back to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated so you’re not wading in the river of self-pity about how burnt out you are.
Do you want help figuring out how to love your job and your life? Let’s chat!