Work-Life Integration: Part 3
Welcome back to The Art of Work-Life Integration Series. In this final post we're taking a look at personal development as a key piece of effective work-life integration. If you missed Parts One and Two of the Series you can catch up here.
Your career is one piece of many that make up your life. Career is a broad concept to begin with, encompassing work (whether paid or unpaid), hobbies, and learning. Career can be such a defining piece of life and yet our lives are also so much more than our careers. Life is also made up of other significant pieces such as family life, relationship with a significant other, friendships, community involvement, health and personal wellness. Some of these pieces may be bigger than others, but in a full life most of these pieces are there in some form.
Making Personal Development A Priority
The art of work-life integration comes down to seeing your vision for life and arranging the pieces accordingly. Here are a few ways you can focus on your personal development while figuring out how to bring all the pieces together:
Create a self-care plan to make personal wellness a part of your life
Make space to pursue a hobby that makes you feel energized
Prioritize exercise to reduce stress, improve energy, and stay strong
Nurture relationships with your family, friends, and community
Improve your time management skills
Conquer self-doubt and working mom guilt by finding your strengths
Spending time on hobbies, leisure activities, and your personal wellness will help you feel more engaged and energized in other areas of your life. It’s essential to make personal development a priority.
You may be wondering how on earth you’re going to find time for yourself amidst the hustle of raising a family. Work-life integration is not so much about finding more time in a day to dedicate to work or life. It's about how to make better use of the time you do have. Here are two tips to organize your time so you can make your personal development a priority.
First, set realistic goals for your personal development and consider when you're going to make them a priority. Small moments of rest and relaxation that are built into your existing routine can make a big difference. Think of self-care activities such as a five minute yoga sequence you can do every morning before hopping into the shower. You don’t need to do a major overhaul to your life to see positive results.
Second, build your household a network of support and put it to work so you can free up time and head space for yourself. Your network of support is made up of people you can call on to help you care for your family. Here’s how you can build yours:
Make a list of the areas in your home life you put a lot of your time into (e.g. childcare, cleaning, laundry, groceries and meal preparation, managing household budget, kids’ activities).
Then for each home life area brainstorm people who could take on responsibility for the area.
Start by thinking about those close to you and then expand the network outward. First you can think of your partner and family members, then extended relatives, neighbours, friends, and finally professionals (e.g. childcare providers, cleaners, grocery delivery services, and financial advisors).
Review your brainstorm to decide who you want to bring into your network of support and ask them to take on responsibility for a home life area.
Once someone else is responsible for the home life area, let them do their job! Be mindful not to micromanage or become involved in responsibilities someone else has agreed to do. If you find you’re getting too involved, redirect your energy toward an activity for your personal development. Remember, work-life integration is being flexible about when and how things get done.
I hope you enjoyed following along with The Art of Work-Life Integration Series. This is such an important area for so many moms. I truly believe you can have a rewarding career and a rich family life, while also nourishing yourself as an individual, if that's what you desire. I hope this series has helped you get closer to the life you envision for yourself. Share your comments and questions. I'd love to hear from you and continue the work-life discussion together!