How To Achieve Work/Life Integration

I am so tired of the words work/life balance!

Those words imply that my work and my life are not mutually exclusive things that I do.

Using the words in that way also suggests that there is somehow the possibility that the two could work harmoniously together.

While many individuals can flip a switch to achieve work/life balance, I have come to realize that creatives constantly blend what happens at work and what happens in the rest of their lives.

Instead of helping you find balance, here are six things to help you integrate your work life into the myriad of things you do beyond your creative practice.

1. Set Priorities That Benefit You

If you don’t set aside some time for the most important things in your life each day, you likely won’t get to them.

Whether it’s spending time with your family or getting your most important work done, sorting out your real priorities and attending to them will help you achieve work/life integration.

2. Take Time To Downshift

Pace yourself and give yourself permission to slow your workflow down.

There should be an ebb and flow to your work, so take a breath and know that the push toward creating something new will come soon enough, but it has no chance of happening if you are utterly burnt out.

3. Say No

The single best shot you have at attaining work/life integration is to say no.

Challenge yourself to say no to at least one thing a day so that you can have more time to tackle the things that you have listed as a priority.

4. Stop Embracing A Scarcity Mindset

I remember being fearful that every opportunity I took might be my last, so I took them all.

That mindset came at the expense of my sanity and happiness.

Be strategic about the type of work you take on and take the time to focus on what needs to be in place to take on work. If all the boxes aren’t checked, turn the opportunity down (as painful as it sounds).

5. Set Boundaries and Routines For Yourself

Set a hard stop time on your calendar each day when you will wrap up your work.

This allows you to provide clear boundaries for when you will leave work each day and forces you to work more efficiently within your budgeted time (IE: a two-hour block to complete a project).

6. Subscribe to my newsletter, Tips For The Unrelenting Creative

Work/Life Integration is one of the most important areas creatives need to focus on in order to fine a sustainable life and career path.

My free Tips For The Unrelenting Creative newsletter offers practical, tactical, how-to tips to help creatives confront their work/life integration concerns, head-on.

If you found this post helpful, you’ll love my newsletter.

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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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