I experienced my first 15 hour work-blog-school day this fall and I have no intentions of repeating that day. I went to work from 7am-2:00pm, had a photo shoot from 2:30-4pm, drove to campus to make a meeting at 5:00pm, and then had class from 6:00pm-10:00pm. This day is a prime example of work life integration to the extreme. While I hope to NEVER make this crazy day a norm for me, I do hope to continue my work life integration lifestyle.
At this stage of my life, I’ve embraced work life integration as I balance blogging, a full time job, and grad school. Work life integration is about creating synergies around work, side hustles, health and welling, as well as family life. I’ve embraced work life integration because my professional corporate and creative careers are constantly weaving in and out of my personal life.
4 Tips for Achieving Work Life Integration
Work Life Integration Tip #1: Be flexible
Whether you’re working full time with grad school or balancing a family with your own business, flexibility is key in achieving work life integration. Even though the concept of a stable schedule sounds ideal, it isn’t always reality. I’ve found that adjusting and being flexible with blogging and school meetings is the only way to make things work.
For instance, this fall quarter I have an alternating Saturday 8 hour class and a regular 4 hour class per week. This means one week I’ll have 40 hours a week of work and 12 hours of class and then the next week I’ll have 40 hours a week of work and 4 hours of class. These alternating schedules mean I have to be flexible with the work I do with my blog.
On weeks I have 52 hours a week of work and class, I can’t shoot for my blog. When you add commute time and the list of readings I have to complete in a week, my time gets eaten up pretty quickly. But on the weeks where I only have 44 hours of work and class, I’ll schedule at least one photo shoot on the weekends for my blog and at least a few hours of writing content.
Work Life Integration Tip #2: Adjusting expectations and goals
With a demanding, alternating work-blog-school schedule, I’ve had to adjust my expectations and goals to stay sane. I’ve specifically had to let go of perfectionism in all aspects of my life.
In undergrad, I was intense about my studies and never let any assignments pass me by. But in graduate school, I’ve learned that I’ve had to let go of this identity of being the perfect student who completes every single thing for class. I’ve learned that I can’t always complete the 10-15 reading assignments with my schedule. Even though it would be nice to finish all the reading, I also have learned and accepted that a passing grade will still get me the master’s degree at the end of the day.
For my blog: I’ve always taken pride in writing long form content (1,000+ words for a majority of my blog post) twice a week for my blog. As I’ve gone through these first few weeks of the school year, I’ve realized that writing two pieces of long form blog posts is unrealistic with my time constraints.
I’m readjusting my blogging expectations and idea of success by allowing myself to only write one piece of long form content and being okay with writing a shorter 300-400 word blog post. For example, I published Emma’s Edition LLC – 5 Reasons I filed as a Business as Blogger (long form blog post) and 20+ Fall Sweaters to Add to Your Closet Last Week (short form blog post).
Work Life Integration Tip #3: Cutting out non-value added things
If something isn’t contributing to me getting my reading assignments done or helping me for the blog, it’s getting cut out. This means I’m no longer scrolling through Instagram for hours each day or watching Netflix. This also means no blogger events (there are a few exceptions) because it takes too much time out of my day to rush out after work, get ready for the event, drive to the event, and then be there for two hours.
Advice: If you really want to free up your time and stay focused on your priorities, you have to be real with yourself. Don’t be afraid to question your tasks and actions. For instance, what will scrolling on Instagram do for you at the end of the day? Or how will two hours of Netflix time help you?
Work Life Integration Tip #4: Don’t sacrifice your sleep and unwind time
A huge part of my work life integration is ensuring I get my total 5-6 hours of sleep a night (I’ve always ONLY needed 5-6 hours of sleep). I’ve learned in the past that if I compromise sleep and adjust my sleeping hours to 4 hours, I fall apart during the day. No matter how busy I am and regardless of what’s due the next day, I make sure I get at least 5-6 hours of sleep each night.
My advice would be to make sure you get the appropriate amount of sleep you personally need a night. Some people need a full 8 hours while others need 6 hours. Whatever that range is, don’t sacrifice your sleep time. Give yourself a bedtime range and to stick with it. I typically try to go to bed between 10-11pm on the weeknights.
Additionally, an important part of my work life integration is my unwind time. This time of my day includes: walking my dog Boone for 30min -1 hour each day and exercising for at least 30 min a day. After a long day of work, I have to unwind with Boone and Brandon. Whether we decide to go to the dog park or walk the neighborhood, I love getting outside with them.
This time allows me to unwind from work and lets me reset for the next thing that evening – which is sometimes class, homework, or styling my next few looks for an upcoming blog photo shoot.
Advice: What helps you unwind and relieve stress at the end of the day? Are you making sure you get that time? Like sleep, a time to rest and unwind shouldn’t be sacrificed in your schedule. Even a 30 min break that helps reset your mind or refill your energy will help you stay charged and motivated.
There you have it friends! My four tips for achieving work life integration!
What are your tips for maintaining work life integration?
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Thank you for reading!
Photos: Karya Schanilec