Achieving Work-Life Integration for the Modern Woman
In the last decade, the work environment across all levels has changed drastically—the rapid rise of digitalization has enabled most people to work remotely. As the bounds of work and personal life blur, mothers are able to care for their families and fulfill work responsibilities simultaneously.
But because of this, the concept of work-life balance, where people seek to find separate times between work and personal life, is simply unattainable. Now that digitalization made working outside the regular 9-to-5 schedule possible, the mission instead becomes finding work-life integration where all aspects of a working mother’s life—business, family, personal, and well-being—can co-exist. The digital world has given us the opportunity to focus on all aspects of life that we value the most, allowing us to work anywhere, anytime, and on our own prerogative.
Therefore, finding synergy between the responsibilities of being both a businesswoman and a mother should not be about having equal time between the two. Rather, it is about taking steps to fulfill a greater quality of life as you wear different hats at the same time.
Being a businesswoman and a mother indeed comes with great responsibilities. So, to think that you can get all your duties done in a short span of time is unrealistic and overwhelming. It is easy to fall into the illusion that you can “do it all,” but it is a challenge that simply cannot be won. Instead, the best way to deal with it is to change that mindset and accept that there are some tasks that should be delegated.
Do not forget that you have a team. Empower them to take on challenges and maximize their skills and abilities. Organize and list down the tasks you need to accomplish and think about which ones you can utilize your team for and which require only your efforts.
With this, you achieve two things: more time to focus on more pressing matters while empowering your employees by giving them meaningful work.
Organize Your Day
Being accessible 24/7 is a double-edged sword. While the internet and various technologies make it easier to mobilize tasks, it is difficult to get out of work when you need to—you do not want to be checking emails in the middle of a holiday meant for spending time with your family.
To avoid this scenario, dedicate time to plan your day or week for work, family, and of course, personal time. You can do this before your work week begins or as your day starts while having your morning coffee. Allot time for important things and stick with it.
More often than not, you will be lenient when it comes to your personal time, but you have to give yourself enough quality time apart from caring for your family or working at the office.
It is easy to get carried away with work when it is right in front of you. But to manage both life and work, you must learn how to put the phone on silent or shut down the laptop and be present in whatever you are doing.
Communicate Your Priorities
There will be days or weeks when you will need to spend more time at work for a big project. But there will also be times where you can escape the hustle to attend a special family occasion.
In these cases, communicate with your family and your team about your upcoming priorities and events. That way, the people who work with you and depend on you will know what to expect from you, when to give the support and understanding you need, or when to step in and help you.
As a leader, let your team know in advance when you will not be available and what needs to be done in your absence. This is where you can also delegate tasks and have them report to you when you are back.
As a mother, explain to your family as well what your priorities and responsibilities are at work, so when the time comes that you have to stay in the office longer than usual or skip an important gathering, they understand why you are not able to make it.
Learn How to Say “No”
Research finds that women are less inclined to say “no” to extra work. The study states that social norms guide women’s tendency to accept work, resulting in their “I can do it all” mindset.
While maybe helping someone out will sound like a task that will not consume much time, saying “yes” to that while accepting a lead role in another project, you have to consider that you would be doing tasks on top of managing your team, caring for your children, and other activities you do for your own well-being.
While small tasks seem manageable, do not feel obliged to accept responsibilities that might disrupt the schedule you set aside for yourself, your family, or your own work.
Realize It is a Learning Process
Achieving work-life integration is not exactly black and white. You will not always feel that you have enough time for everything going on in your life.
You will find that one day you are already dedicating too much time to one aspect and too little on another; after all, your work, family, and well-being are all equally important. In the end, it would just be a matter of taking it one step at a time and adjusting accordingly.
Never strive for the perfect day. Rather, plan your time and create a schedule that will get you to a point where you maintain quality of life.
The Modern Woman is the Master of Her Life
Maintaining a work-life balance as a woman can be difficult to do, especially when the world expects so much of you.
Women may be known as multitaskers—masters of being a mother, a sister, a friend, and a leader. But even labels can cause inner conflict between what people expect of you and who you really are.
That is why you have to keep reminding yourself that you cannot be everything to everyone. And that is okay.
You are a modern woman—the master of your own life, no matter what role you pursue.
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Decker, Tina. "What Is Work-Life Integration?" Women's Lifestyle online. Last modified July 17, 2018. Accessed May 6, 2019. http://womenslifestyle.com/what-is-work-life-integration.
G, Preethi. "Work Life Integration." Medium. February 21, 2018. Accessed May 6, 2019.
Goudreau, Jenna. "Why It's Harder For Women To Say 'No' To Extra Work." Business Insider. Last modified December 17, 2014. Accessed May 6, 2019. https://www.businessinsider.com/why-hard-for-women-to-say-no-at-work-2014-12.
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