November 7, 2017

Your Tuesday Top 5: How to Integrate Your Work Life with Your Personal Life

Posted by AGU Career Center

Every Tuesday, Patricia Yaya, AGU Vice President of Human Resources & Administrative Services, sends a message to the entire AGU staff featuring five short tips for getting by in the workplace.  On the Job will be publishing these tips in a new weekly segment, Tuesday Top 5.

There are many articles, videos, talks, and other resources on the work-life balance topic. And, yet, there are no sure-fire solutions for how to achieve that balance. The issue is, in part, the word “balance.” Does it mean equal parts or the remaining amount? Forget balance. Strive to better integrate your work and your life. You’re already doing it whether intentional or not. The goal is to do it better, to do it so well that it just flows, in harmony.

Think about a house. The house represents your life. In that house are rooms. One could be work, another family, another fun, whatever you want them to be. You spend different amounts of time in each room. You like some rooms better than others. You can go to all the rooms if you make time. But you cannot be in the center of any two rooms at the same time.

In the house, there are choices, like, which room do I go to, how long do I stay there, what do I do there, and what do I do about that leaky faucet or wall that needs painted? It’s the same with work and integrating your life into it and vice versa. There are choices, each requiring an action and having a consequence.

Here are your Tuesday Top 5 tips for how to integrate work and life:

1. Define success. Success in achieving work-life integration looks different to everyone. We all have different agendas, passions, personalities, and priorities. What does successful work-life integration look like to you? For me, I’m successful at it if I’m enjoying myself and if I’m in the moment, completely focused on what I’m doing whether it’s binging on Netflix or writing my performance evaluation.

2. Update success definition as needed. What’s important today may not be as important tomorrow. Some days your focus will shift based on workload, personal priorities, deadlines, your kid’s schedule, and your own disposition.

3. Take care of yourself. Schedule time for yourself and your family the same as you schedule time for meetings at work.

4. Be flexible and forgiving. We can plan, but it doesn’t always come together that way. Allow some flex and come to terms with the idea that integration means making (and allowing) parts to work together. You may have planned 8 hours for a work task and it takes 9 hours, shortening your personal time. That’s ok. Don’t allow yourself to get frustrated and ruin your entire day. Remember that work is part of life. It’s a part of the whole. Flex and forgive yourself for flexing.

5. Accept that it’s personal. There is not one-size fits all solution for better integrating work and life. Customize the methods that are out there. Think of it like a diet: try it, tweak it and stick to the parts that work for you.

Patricia Yaya is the Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services at the American Geophysical Union.  Additional AGU Staff contributed to this blog.