Have you ever watched a gymnast on a balance beam? They don’t simply have to stay atop of a board that is only four inches wide; they must also do turns and jumps and flips—without falling off.

Striving for work/life balance is just as challenging. We try so hard to make everything work and beat ourselves up when it doesn’t. And why is “balance” the target?

That’s why I’m now focusing on work/life blending over work/life balance.

Balance Isn’t All They Say

By definition, work/life balance implies equality, a 50/50 relationship, with a give and take of actions that have a right or wrong outcome based on how much we do that is “work” or “life”.

We envision that perfect equilibrium where we’re productive at work, creative at home, and in general a “well-rounded person.” But reality ends up being quite different: you stay late to get a project completed and family dinner goes out the window.

What did we do wrong? Nothing. Real life just gets in the way of that perfect balance, and it always will. “In some ways,” says a recent Medium.com article, “the very idea of work and life as two things to be balanced sets us up for failure.”

Why Blending Works Better

Blending implies a mixture of what fuels you and what’s best for you to be successful is the various areas of your life.

A Huffington Post article shared a great definition of blending: “In a work-life blend model, life and work are seen as consistent and symbiotic, with work viewed as a genuine part of life.” You get to view yourself as a whole person with various duties, not someone who has to fit into a million different roles.

It implies that there’s no right or wrong way to reach your goals. There’s just the way that works best for you and your particular circumstances and that helps you get whatever you need in any area of life.

A Method for Better Work/Life Blending

Effective work/life blending is much like pruning a plant. By pruning, we cut away the dead wood and the extra shoots that drain energy from the plant and don’t support its healthy growth.

When I am working with clients to help them create balance and meaning in their lives, our work often circles around to pruning. Just like with plants, we need to take a look at how we spend our time and energy.

Start by asking yourself these three questions (and answer them honestly!):

  1. What activities support and strengthen the life I want to lead?
  2. Which activities are of value and aligned with the direction I want to grow?
  3. Which activities are draining me and are not consistent with the life I want to lead and how I want to grow?

The next step is challenging: learning to say “no” when necessary. Take a good hard look at what you can say No to and, most importantly, follow through on doing that.

Here are some phrases you can use to say No with grace – of course, you can tweak these to fit your unique situation.

  • Thanks so much, but I have another commitment at that time.  (Hint: The commitment can be to yourself )
  • I don’t have the time right now to give that project the attention that I know it will need.
  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I’ll have to bow out this time.
  • Sorry, I can’t take on another commitment right now.
  • No, thanks.
  • No.

A little pruning can be the first step to blending your various life elements into a successful and satisfying whole.

Start Blending This Summer!

This summer can be the start of a true work/life blending that includes successfully handling things at home and at work, so you can take time for yourself whenever you need or want it!

Learn more about how to create a successful work life blend at my FREE webinar: Your Best Summer Yet! How to Get Things Handled At Work AND Take Time For Yourself. I’ll show you:

  1. WHY the things you’ve planned to do to move your business forward this summer just aren’t getting done – why what you’re doing isn’t working for you.
  2. HOW to take control of your time and tasks – and the actual tools to help you STOP the feelings of being weighed down, overwhelmed, stressed and confused.
  3. WHAT positive mindset really is, when it works, and why it’s only one piece of the solution you need to get things handled AND take time off.

Click below to register and you’re on your way to getting what you need—starting this summer!

Join the FREE webinar!

I hope to see you there!

Sarah Reiff-Hekking