Everyone is trying to balance work and life these days. Work-life balance is such a sought-after concept that many companies are starting to list it on job search sites as one of the benefits of working for them.
This change in attitude toward better work culture is a good thing, but work-life balance needs to be more than a buzzword for it to work. And while some workplaces are so toxic that work-life balance is virtually impossible for their employees, your job might not necessarily be to blame. In fact, where you work could have little impact at all on your ability to achieve balance between your work and personal lives. According to some researchers, if you can’t get work and life to just get along, your personality could be the cause.
Integration vs. Segmentation
To Christena Nippert-Eng, author of the book Home and Work: Negotiating Boundaries Through Everyday Life, two types of people exist in the mission for work-life balance: segmentors and integrators. If you’re a segmentor, you’re in luck! Segmentors have the uncanny ability to keep work and life separate with little trouble. They simply stop thinking about work when they leave the office for the day. For integrators, however, things can get a little muddled when they try to balance work and life. They just can’t seem to draw that line that separates work from life.
If you’re an integrator (and most people are: according to a study that Google conducted on its own employees, 69% of people working for the tech giant are integrators), then you’ve got to start approaching the balancing act between work and life in a different way. You’ve got to start thinking like a segmentor.
Free Your Mind with Other Activities
Part of the reason integrators can’t balance work and life is that they can’t stop thinking about it. The stress that they experience at work—whether good or bad stress, it doesn’t matter—comes home with them. The trick is to help your mind leave the office with you by occupying it with activities that are not work-related.
It can be as simple as taking an evening walk. Some people like to get in a pick-up game of basketball to get their minds off of work. But exercise doesn’t have to be the thing that disengages your mind. Reading, writing, learning to play an instrument, and an infinite number of other activities can do the job. You just have to find the one that works for you.
Put the Phone Away after Work
Another way to disengage from work is to literally disconnect yourself from it. In today’s always-connected work culture, it’s easy for your mind to get sucked back into work mode. An email notification is all that it takes, and then you could be spending the next two or three hours trying to put out a work-related fire.
The solution to this problem takes minimal effort. All you have to do is unplug. If your boss or coworkers do not appreciate you taking time for yourself, you can then be sure that your job is impeding your ability to become a segmentor. If that’s the case, it might be time for a new job.
Balance Work and Life with Face-to-Face (or Virtual) Help
Sometimes people just need to talk things through with someone who understands. If you are having trouble finding a balance between work and life, I’m here to talk. Get in touch with me today.