The big buzz used to be work-life balance. The new buzz topic is work-life integration.

Work-life balance never sat right with me. I always associated balancing two things like scales and a see-saw, and it was not stacked properly.

For some, going to work, including the commute means work is taking 45-50 hours a week. When you calculate the average adults sleeps 6.5 hours. Add on, that the average time it takes to get ready in the morning is 55 mins. That is nearly 17 hours a day.

Somehow you are to ‘balance’ or rather juggle everything else; shopping, family time, housework, a social life, hobbies, and time for yourself. I think this is why work-life balance didn’t balance with me. When was work not part of your life?

I remember when I was teaching, we were in school for 8 am and leaving around 6. At one school, the headteacher said at the beginning of the school year, that she wanted us to have more work-life balance. As a result, insisted that on a Thursday we left the school by 4:30. So, every Thursday at 4:25 we all left school;  some of us had bags, some had boxes. We didn’t stop working, we just changed the location we worked 90 mins earlier than normal. The argument was, it was our choice to work at home.

Integrating matters

The new term work-life integration is getting closer to sounding right. There are lots of blogs and articles out there

about it. In short, it focuses on 4 key areas of your life and how they fit together. No juggling or balancing act required. They are

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Community – giving back or connecting with the community
  • Family
  • Work

Work has a huge impact on our lives, whether we are self-employed or an employee. It can overflow into other aspects of our lives without us knowing it. Mental health awareness and health and wellbeing have become more of a focus. There seems to be a move from not just doing the balancing act anymore, but to ensure that there is an integration; that all aspects are connecting.

“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers” Richard Branson

Employers are starting to become more flexible, allowing for flexible working, working from home/ working virtually. The article ‘Why Work-Life Integration Trumps Work-Life Balance’ highlights how being creative in how we work, increases productivity and greater satisfaction, but also highlighting that work and life are intertwined.

More and more businesses realise that they can hire whole support teams virtually, either as staff or as contractors, like myself.

Working virtually for me allows me to work around my employed job and family. I build in time to focus on me and ensure that my health and wellbeing are in check. I also manage to volunteer on a fundraising committee at a local Scouts group. When I pick up the MJM Virtual Solutions hat, I need to ensure time for clients as well as for my business and it does mean careful time-management.

We can get stuck in the day-to-day admin and running of the business, that it can distract us from growing a business. This can be for a number of reasons

  • we are superheroes and can do everything
  • the never-ending to-do list
  • you don’t know who or what to delegate
  • there are not enough hours in the day.

All of which can be stressful and have an impact on your health and wellbeing and family time. There are solutions out there to help relieve the stress and remove some tasks off that to-do list.

If you are a business owner or consultant, and you have noticed that there are not enough working hours to do everything, why not email or message me to schedule a call to see how a virtual assistant can support you.

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