Work-life balance is dead, and that might be a good thing

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Integration is the new balance because lines are blurred between work and life. 

Since emails and slacks now infiltrate into our evenings and weekends thanks to technology, our work environment has to make room for our family and personal lives.

Fortune surveyed 1001 days spent in the shoes of high-earning women. They found that "75 percent of time logs showed something personal during traditional work hours: exercise, school visits. On the flip-side, 77 percent showed work outside the workday norm. Women took calls after their kids went to bed. They wrote reports on weekends." This kind of flexibility allows us to stay in the workforce. 

While this is the reality of what employees ask for and increasingly expect, employers do not have plans for how to deal with it. It is all happening as we speak. The result: people do not know where to set boundaries. 

The above is summarized from an article written by Laura Vanderkam, the author of: I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most Of Their Time (Portfolio, June 9, 2015).

Read the full article on Fortune here

What Successful Work-Life Integration Looks Like

Harvard Business Review published an article by Stew Friedman which studied 6 individuals who achieved success not despite of having full lives outside of work, but because they do. The list includes Sheryl Sandberg, Michelle Obama, and Bruce Springsteen among others. The author suggests that each found integration by discovering - through trial and error - ways to allow the different parts of their lives reinforce and enhance each other. 

Excerpt from the article:

"Each has identified a life’s work that is important to them, and each both draws on and gives back to their families and communities in order to make that life’s work succeed. They exemplify how one can cultivate a life in which values, actions, social contribution, and personal growth exist in harmony. It’s a life in which disparate pieces fall into place, not every single day — that’s the impossible myth of “work/life balance” — but over the course of a lifetime.

Yes, these six people are extraordinary – but they use skills that all of us can use to make ourselves a bit more extraordinary, too.

Start by considering three principles: be real, be whole, and be innovative. To be real is to act with authenticity by clarifying what’s important to you. To be whole is to act with integrity by recognizing how the different parts of your life (work, home, community, self) affect one another. All this examination allows you to be innovative. You act with creativity by experimenting with how things get done in ways that are good for you and for the people around you.

Doing this means thinking and talking about what truly inspires you, whatever that might be. It requires figuring out how to take incremental steps that are under your control and that move you in the direction you want to go, while bringing others along with you. It’s not easy (and I never said it was). But like these six people, you can attain significant achievement in a way that fits who you are. As these leaders show, your own way is the only way that will work for you."

Read the full article here, and get the book here.

How Children Benefit From Working Mothers

A few days ago, Fastcompany wrote an interesting article about how children benefit from having a working mother based on a recently published book by Pamela Lenehan: "My Mother, My Mentor: What Grown Children of Working Mothers Want You to Know". Some of these benefits she identified include a strong work ethic, higher independence, more resilience and an overall better preparation for the "real world". 

Read more here and buy the book here