I have all my life kept strict boundaries between work and life.
My philosophy has been that boundaries make it easier to leave work behind and concentrate to other things at home. Boundaries help you to keep the work-life balance.
I am not sure anymore if it is the right way. I have started to feel that it is not working.
Last two years I have practised my own “Better Productivity System” where I always take care of the issues that cause me the stress. It does not matter if it is work or home issues, but the things in my mind need to be handled, solved and removed.
For my well-being I have to mix work and life.
For extraordinary results – boundaries are not good either.
Best results will appear in extremes. When you can fully concentrate on your work OR on your life.
So why setting boundaries is not viable choice?
Because your life, your home and your work will always mix. Finding the balance between work and life is impossible. You cannot control when those extremes occur.
That is one of the reasons why freelancing is so popular. You can choose when you work and when you will have your life.
Your employer should make it possible to mix life, family and work. When you are in work, you are expected to work and when you are in home you are expected to have your life.
The problem in work-life balance are the working hours. We are expected to work at least eight hours per day and we are expected to arrive to work at certain times. If you have family, it is not easy.
Working hours will add extra pressure to your life and to your work.
If you are not working in a factory, sadly enough, we have NO better way to measure or control your performance than how long you stay at the office. Which has nothing to do how much you work.
I have started to mix work and life. What does that mean?
1. If I have work items in my mind. I will take care of them. Sometimes I work during the evening to finish something. When I do that, I sleep well and I don’t need to hurry to work next morning, since I know that I have already finished some of the next days work.
In my system I always take care of the items that stress me. If I need to take care home matters during work hours, I don’t feel guilt, since I will take care of the work also outside the office hours.
2. I divide my time differently. I will come late to the office after I have sent my kids to school. .. and it will also mean that I will stretch and take care of the work after they have gone to sleep – if necessary.
It is impossible to divide your day to three eight-hour periods. eight hours of work, eight hours of spare time and eight hours of sleep. It just won’t work.
You should stop counting hours. Concentrate more on the effectiveness of your day. How much you achieve and get done during they day.
Don’t be afraid of mixing your work and life, but be careful.
It does not mean that you will work eight hours in the office and then another six at home.
It means that you can leave early to meet your family, since you will take care of the work in the evening, early next morning or even during the sunday evening.
It means you will take care of the work in the office in less time than others, since you won’t spend your time to waste.
If your work results are good and you are productive and efficient most bosses are happy to give you more flexibility and freedom.
If your results are not good, your will receive complaints about your working hours for sure. It is so easy to use them as weapon against you.
Responsibility, productivity and efficiency brings more freedom to use your time. Your work-life balance is in shape when you enjoy both – work and life.
photo credit: Sebastian Anthony via photopin cc