Sunday, May 3, 2015

Why Work/Life Integration Works

 Work/life balance is a misnomer and a miscalculation.

A concept that's been around since the 80s, work/life balance has a simple motivation: to make workers mindful of the time they spend working. It's supposed to serve as an impetus to living a life that's not dominated by work; thus enabling one to engage in more non-work activities (e.g., time for family, friends, leisure activities, etc.).

It sounds like simple math: reduce the time you spend working and increase the time you spend not working and voila ! Your life is balanced. Busy adults with demanding jobs and lives know that this equation is fundamentally flawed and contains too many variables for the efficacy of the work/life balance concept to take hold.

When you consider that the average commute in the US is 25 minutes (though I know few people with this commute time), and you double your travel upon your return home, this brings your total commute time to one hour. Tack on the 8 conventional hours that you spend at work, plus the 8 hours of sleep that adults are supposed to get, and poof! 17 hours are accounted for. How much time is left? 7 hours.

How can you possibly bring balance to your day, week, month, year, or life with within these parameters? The answer is you can't. This is why work/life integration is a much more realistic and attainable goal than work/life balance. In fact, the beauty of work/life integration is that it's more of a lifestyle choice than it is a goal. This is why so many workers are finding greater fulfillment in their professional and personal lives as a result of it.

So what is work/life integration? Work‐life Integration is an outcome of people exercising control and choice in their life to meet life’s challenges. Why does it work? Because it isn't a mere concept that hinges on wishful thinking; it's a holistic strategy that empowers you to blend - not balance - your obligations and desires into a 24 hour time frame. All you need is the vision, gumption, and willingness to take control of your work demands to make it a reality.

Below, Brent Barootes expounds upon work/life integration.

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