19 September 2021

Work-Life Balance, but Better: This Is What Will Actually Boost Your Happiness

I don’t believe in work-life balance.

I know, it sounds a little counterintuitive, but stay with me on this one because it might just be the mindset shift you’ve been looking for.

Here’s the thing: I spent 20 years in corporate (find my vulnerable story here), and a big chunk of that in senior roles. I loved the excitement of and buzz of my roles and the commitment they required.

But I was also making a mistake that was causing me a lot of stress. I was putting all my time into my work Monday to Friday and then trying to unwind during the weekend or after a big project was finally completed.

Looking back, I’m now seeing that I was putting my own needs and desires on hold until my work was done. Naturally, that only led to burnout and stress because I wasn’t paying attention to myself.

The solution? A “revamped” work-life balance that we call “work-life integration”. Let’s talk about it.

Work-life integration vs. work-life balance

Work-life balance essentially means spending time on only one aspect (work or personal life) until you decide to switch completely to the other one. It doesn’t sound like a terrible concept… until you realise you give most of your attention to work, so no actual “balance” was achieved.

Work-life integration is about threading personal time into the workday. This is all about having fun before all the work is done (and being more productive as a result). Having a relaxing lunch, going to the gym in the middle of the day, having a coffee with a friend on a Tuesday morning… It means carving out time to just have some fun and recharge.

The difference it makes is absolutely fabulous - both in your performance at work and in your overall mood.

The idea of work-life balance can feel rigid and strict, whereas integration enables you to flow easier through the day while empowering yourself. In a way, it’s all about breaking down barriers.

How to do it

I know, detaching from work during the day will feel weird at first. You might even feel guilty for not being as “productive”, but please trust me on this one - it’ll be worth it.

Here are some of my favourite ways to achieve work-life integration:

  1. Discover yourself

Do you know what time of the day is best for your focus? Or communication? Or around what time of the day you begin to feel a little tired or inactive?

Get to know yourself and your energy levels during a typical day (and don’t put pressure on yourself during the lower-energy days!). Once you find that out, you’ll have a clear image of how and when you could pay attention to your needs more.

  1. Be intentional with your schedule for the week

Sit down in a cosy place with a warm cup of tea, get your favourite notebook (or whatever you want) and think about the coming week.

Schedule every day with both work AND personal life in mind.

If you have a peak of energy that usually helps you get tasks done, schedule work in that time window. If you have hours where you feel like taking a break or doing something else, schedule a fun or relaxing activity to recharge.

  1. Set clear boundaries

Identify where you need to limit the time you spend on a certain thing, whether that’s work or personal life.

This may get tricky if you don’t have very flexible hours, and you shouldn’t force anything. But it’s important to remember that you CAN be in control and there ARE things you can do to make sure you also pay attention to yourself and fulfill your needs. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Look, after all, it’s all about what YOU want. It’s all about living a fulfilling life, being happy and as stress-free as possible.

Create a life that works for YOU. I know, it might sound difficult right now, but it’s completely possible if you decide to empower yourself and build a mindset and habits that enable you to put yourself first.

Break the habits that drain you to make room for those that serve you. It takes some work, but I promise it’s worth it.

If you need a reminder of that, join my email list to find it in your inbox. That’s where I share my most insightful, real-world advice to help you tap into your power, you amazing leader!

Jeni Carroll

As a certified life coach, Jeni helps busy, successful women ditch overwhelm & selfdoubt & rediscover their energy, passion & freedom with proven strategies.

Ready to ditch the overwhelm and self-doubt? Start your transformation now.