Remember those old-time performers who lined up a bunch of plates on sticks and then ran up and down to keep them all spinning so they didn’t fall off? (If you’re younger than a certain age, Google can help with this visual…)

Trying to live a balanced life often feels like this, as we run to keep all the plates in our lives spinning. It’s exhausting. It’s overrated. And it doesn’t really work in today’s “plugged in” world where work and home time constantly overlap.

I find that it is helpful to focus on exchanging the concept of work/life balance for work/life blending, where home and work are two parts of the larger whole we call life. Summer can be a good time to test out this concept as many of us have natural shift in our blend at this time of year.

A blended model “captures the way we actually work, live, and do all the things we do in between when our eyes first flutter open and when our heads hit the pillow again at night,” says the site.

As I work with clients to help them achieve a more blended life, I point them to the following tips on how to put it in play.

  • Know your priorities (and get good at saying No to things that aren’t). It’s difficult to accept that you can’t do everything, no matter what life model you choose. Decide what’s most important to you (work success, family time, self-care) and commit to having these things in your life.
  • Define your version of success. Christine Riordan, professor of management at the University of Kentucky, writes in the Harvard Business Review that success is something deeply personal and different for each of us. Dig into what success means for you and then share it with those who can support you in moving forward on these goals.
  • Set boundaries. A good example of this is learning to say no when necessary, as I’ve shared in prior articles. But, says, also know that “sometimes your boundaries will change and bleed over, and you have to be okay with that.” It’s important be flexible in the face of real life.
  • Check on how it’s going. You can do this daily, weekly, or yearly but make time to track how you’re feeling about your blended life and the decisions you’ve made. This can help you reduce stress levels by feeling more in control of your life.
  • Adjust as necessary. If what you’re doing doesn’t feel like the right blend, try some different tactics to make things work. You might need to do this for a day, a week, or a year depending on your circumstances. A blended life isn’t about rigid goals; it’s about managing situations in service of your version of success and your priorities.
  • Utilize today’s technology. While it can create interruptions, technology can also assist in creating a blended life. Consider trying project management tools like Basecamp to stay on track at work and Skype or Zoom to hold face-to-face meeting from home.
  • Remember this is a process. Creating our personal work/life blend is an on-going process. Success comes from the ability to adapt and evolve based on how goals shift throughout life, so go easy on yourself, look for the ways you’re getting it right, and build on those accomplishments.

Christine Riordan says it very well: “Even in the busiest of schedules, the most practical and effective way we can live is by aligning our personal priorities of work, family, health, and well-being. Such realignment can bring huge gains in emotional and physical energy, not to mention greater clarity and focus at work.”

Feel free to share your blended life experiences with me, both good and bad. Together we can find our best path to a well-lived life!

Strong productivity skills can be an integral part of successful work/life blending, and my Jump Start Your Productivity home study program can help. This four-week course will teach you the steps to get more done now so you can create a truly blended life that works for YOU this summer.

You’ll learn to:

  • Immediately figure out where you are wasting time and make changes to get more done
  • Create daily and weekly routines that allow you to know that the important things are just handled
  • Set up and follow a consistent weekly planning process that works for you
  • Use my tips to plan for success and keep your productivity going

Click the link below to start now. I look forward to helping you develop the best possible work/life blend!

Join the Jump Start Your Productivity Program!

I hope to see you there!

Sarah Reiff-Hekking