When I started this blog, my topic was work-life balance, because that is how we would normally refer to this concept right? Earlier this week, I attended a session hosted by the Tracom Group, which was facilitated by Dan Day. Dan used the catch phrase life-work blend which really grabbed my attention. He hit the nail on the head. As working individuals, we often find themselves juggling our personal and work lives in the pursuit of the perfect life-work blend. Shouldn’t we be putting life first?
What is life-work blend?
This definition refers to work-life balance, but I am going to use it anyway. Did you ever think of your life as having four quadrants? “Meaningful daily Achievement and Enjoyment in each of my four life quadrants: Work, Family, Friends and Self.”
Many individuals find themselves in a situation where the hypothesis of life-work blend has grown to the point where one must try and manage the conflict, integration, enhancement, and subtleties that come with this concept as well as setting and adhering to boundaries to keep one’s sanity.
This has been a struggle for a while and then COVID-19 came along and turned it on its head pulling us deeper into this conundrum. In the past, we recognised that our work was in an office building, we left the office at a certain time knowing that there will not be a need to keep checking emails or answering phones. We could literally unplug. I know that many of us struggled to do that and took work home with us. Some continued by turning their homes into their night office while others discussed work at the dinner table or with friends. Now, with technology at our fingertips, there is more of an imbalance, and we are struggling to get the life aspect back. The outcome is that our well-being is taking a knock.
Has technology given us more flexibility?
Can we switch on and off? 90% of people I speak to highlighted technology as one of the factors that has widened the gap between achieving and maintaining a life-work blend. I worked on a project a few years ago where we promoted the new technology, for which we used the following what is in it for me buy-in strategy – “You can work from anywhere, anytime and on any device.” Back then, it was new, exciting and with the added benefit of remote working on the cards. Of course, there are advantages if we manage it properly and if there are company policies in place to support it.
How can we go about achieving this blend? Start small, with some time management basics and build on it.
- Plan your day by compiling a checklist beforehand
- Prioritise – Consider urgent and important tasks
- Reward yourself when you have completed an item on the checklist – great motivation
- Practice self-control
- Set boundaries
- Avoid distractions
- Spend less time with or remove anything that is getting in the way of you achieving your life-work blend
- Incorporate “me” time with exercise, a hobby or meditation
- Discuss your concerns with your leader
Benefits of Life-work blend
I have just touched the surface with those noted above, take a few minutes, and reflect on the benefits for you and your company. This will be a great reflection exercise and something you can share with your leader and HR department as many companies are reviewing their practices around flexibility and wellness for their workforce. A life-work blend forms a huge part of that and another morale booster for you if your participation and contribution to business strategies outside your normal role is viewed favourably.
This alone can aid in increased levels of self-esteem and an enhanced sense of wellbeing. When we participate in both work and life to create equilibrium, we can influence our life-work blend in a positive way.
Time to Reflect
What are the factors that influence your life-work blend?
How are they impacting you?
What can you do to change it?
Using the checklist and basic time management principles, start your journey to optimising performance, delivering value and customer service for yourself and your organisation while attaining a life-work blend. Mostly, do it for your well-being.
You got this!