Work-Life Integration…. Mixing Business and Pleasure Successfully

By Chutisa BowmanProfessional-networking-advice featured

Why are some women executives able to mix business and pleasure more successfully than others? They do it because they are able to achieve better integration between work and the rest of their life. They function with the awareness that work and personal life are not competing priorities but complementary ones. In essence, they never lose sight of the fact that their personal lives have an impact on the way they approach their work.

Whether you have already reached the C-suite or are still working towards it, your ability to mix business and pleasure successfully is essential for personal effectiveness, peace of mind and success. Work-life integration is apparently a better choice, cognitively, than trying to balance between the two, according to research published in the journal Human Relations and the Harvard Business Review.

While the C-suite requires commitment, mixing business and pleasure should not be impossible. This is not about work life balance. It is about creating a life style that gives you whatever it is that you need in your professional and personal life. It’s about finding the combination of work and play, business and pleasure that works for you.  According to the Medical Daily, keeping work and life separate is not best for wellbeing and performance. The most successful executives are those who have an ability to achieve professional success without always having to sacrifice the things that matter in their personal lives.

So how do you know you have what it takes to mix business and pleasure successfully and achieve work-life integration? A good place to start is to acknowledge that work and personal life are not competing priorities but complementary ones. You must stop being fixated on balance. Instead, put your energy towards integrating what makes your heart sing, what’s fun for you and what you love to do, into your daily life.

Here are three things you can do to develop this ability:

Assess your current position. Looking at yourself as you really are and your life as it is now, is the first step in restructuring your life. To truly integrate work and life successfully, it is crucial to become aware of where you are functioning from, that is creating the life you currently have. The moment you take the initiative to become aware of your points of view, habits and behaviours, you are on the path to having true work-life integration.

So, first ask yourself these questions –

  • “Do you feel physically exhausted, mentally stagnant or find yourself without close relationships?”
  • “Do you react to everything, including things people say and to conditions outside your control?”
  • “Does everything become an emergency in your life?”
  • “Does your life feel chaotic, messy, topsy-turvy and has taken on an erratic flow?”
  • “Would you call yourself a workaholic?”

If you answer yes to any of these questions, your life and your work are probably out of conscious integration.

Clarify what is important and what will work for you. Do you know what you want to create as your life? What do you really want to create as your future? What are your priorities (business, work and personal)? It is super-essential to be clear about your personal interests and concerns—to identify where work falls in the spectrum of your overall priorities in life.

To mix business and pleasure successfully you must cut through the charade about priorities. Begin by making your work priorities crystal clear, and define them in terms of possibilities, priorities and in terms of outputs. Simultaneously, set the important priorities, concerns, and demands outside the office that require time and energy. The target is to have a clarity about both the business and your individual priorities and then to construct a plan for fulfilling all of them.

To know what will work for you, you need to take into consideration that life is constantly changing. The right mix for you today may not be the right mix for you tomorrow or next week or next month. Over time your priorities change. The one way to know you have an integrated work-life is the feeling of accomplishment, fun and happiness you enjoy every day.

Make a conscious choice and commit yourself to embrace work-life integration. To make a conscious choice to create a meaningful existence where enjoyment exists amongst all areas of your life, you have to make a demand of yourself: “No matter what it takes, no matter what it looks like, I am going down this path.” Be willing to be vulnerable and to stay open to the new, the unfamiliar, and the unknown.

Be open to all possibility and be willing to look at what you can do that will generate different possibilities. Choose to be ever aware and mindful, ready to shift strategy and tactics as the situation requires. Having this awareness will prioritize the activities necessary for success. Priorities make it easier to say no to distracting initiatives.

Chutisa Bowman is a Pragmatic Futurist, author and curator of Generative Woman Blog. She is best-known for her work in strategic awareness, benevolent capitalism, prosperity consciousness, Right Riches for You and conscious benevolent leadership. Right Riches for You is a speciality program of Access Consciousness.

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