Work Life Integration: 5 tips on how to embrace the new age of balancing it all
By: Stephanie Whalen, Paladin Technologies, PSA Sales and Marketing Committee Member
There is no arguing that the demands of our world today are non-stop. Between smart devices, social media, and information at large, we cannot escape. This proves to be ever more true in the security industry where we are responsible for the protection of our clients’ assets 24/7. Whether we have a set schedule, shift work, or contracts to manage, we are held to a standard of being able to react in the slightest case of emergency.
And let’s be honest with ourselves: we all love it. As human beings, we thrive on feeling needed and at the rate our industry is growing, we’re all going to be needed for a long time. However, neurologically, certain elements of work can become addictive and thus, our minds are continuously turning. So this poses the reality which we must come to face: work-life balance as a concept is dead. Instead, we need to embrace the new age reality of work-life integration.
5 Tips on How to Embrace Work-Life Integration.
1. Plan the week
Part of creating work-life integration is dedicating time to plan the structure of your weeks. Whichever platform you use to manage your calendar, you need to plan your personal time along with your working time. Implement your work schedule first, and then schedule times you will take for yourself, appointments, family, and friends. Of course life will happen and schedules can be adjusted, but it is important to have a foundation that you commit to. Take 30 minutes on the weekend to look ahead and ask yourself how you will make time for things that matter outside of your workplace.
2. Take some time to be truly unplugged
Technology has become an addiction. You may leave work at the end of the day physically, but you are likely still attached to some form of device. An email, text, or call can quickly pull you away from the present moment with your life outside the office. Plan out a few times in the week to be truly ‘unplugged.’ Try going out or eating a meal without your device (I know, we tense up at just the thought) but even if it is one hour technology free, you can reengage with the world around you and that will support fulfillment within your mind. Technology will always be part of integrating our work and home life, but we do need to disconnect at some point.
3. Discover what you love
Work-life integration means doing more of what you love and less of what you hate. In any position within our industry, or in any career path, it is important to recognize the tasks you are drawn to most. There will always be tasks that we don’t love, but overall, in growing your career to a space of optimal integration, you should address the components of your job that bring you the most fulfillment and pursue that path; it may lead you towards something greater than you anticipated.
4. Surround yourself with the right people
We’ve heard this one before – you are whom you surround yourself with. This is true both in our personal and professional lives. Don’t stay with an organization if you feel the people responsible for your growth are not empowering you to achieve your goals, and don’t keep relationships that don’t motivate you. As we move through life, it can be challenging to let go of people as you grow accustomed to the routine they provide, but in order to achieve integration within your personal and professional life, you need a team around you that will have your back.
5. Never stop educating yourself
Take advantage of any training or educational opportunity your company may offer you. As we move forward in our careers, and in life, it can be daunting to put the effort in to learn something new. Challenge yourself to take that leap and you’ll be surprised that when you pursue and achieve a new form of skills, perspective, or understanding you’ll excel further in your role and feel more motivated in your personal life.
Although we work in a demanding industry, we must remember to put our well-being first, otherwise our clients and reputation will suffer. Be accountable to yourself, your career, and most importantly your time. There is no doubt that achieving work-life integration will take some actual work, and none of us will do this perfectly, but with a little practice and support of the right people, we can all get a little closer to having it all.