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11 Tips For Work-Life Integration

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Mar. 12 2015, Published 3:30 a.m. ET

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The concept of work-life “balance” is outdated. It’s not uncommon for workers to check their emails the moment they wake up, or whip out their smartphones while jogging on the treadmill. Basically, “work” and “life” have become two halves of the same whole, rather than two incompatible components uncomfortably squished against each other.

Still, work-life integration has challenges – which can stress you out if you’re not careful. As a working millennial woman, you can keep up with an effective work-life integration using these tips:

1. Work for a Great Company

Okay, “great” is subjective. What may be an awesome company for you may be a hellhole to someone else. In any case, if you’re starting to dread work for reasons out of your control (like workplace bullying), it might be time to look for another ship to ride on. No matter how closely you follow every bit of advice below, you’ll still have trouble with work-life integration if going to work feels like smashing your head with a 2×4 every day.

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2. Have a “Tech-Free Day” Every Week

You already spend your working hours staring at computers, smartphones and other electronic screens. So why spend your weekend staring at them some more, when you could relax and forget about work instead?

It won’t hurt to turn off your gadgets, and experience a tech-free world once in a while. Trust me; you’ll do your health a ton of favors.

3. Exercise on Your Way to Work

According to Healthday.com, a two-mile jog – or a climb up 10 flights of stairs – before going to work can lower your stress levels, boost your confidence, and make you forget that work-life integration was ever an issue in the first place. Which means “not having time to exercise” is no longer an excuse!

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4. Eat Filling but Nutritious Meals

If you think “healthy,” “convenient,” and “delicious” don’t go together when it comes to food, think again. Even a single hardboiled egg, or a box of low-fat chocolate milk, can keep your protein needs covered, and fill you with enough energy for that next major project. Check out Fitness Crest for more healthy and high protein recipes.

5. Stay in Touch with Non-Coworker Friends

When you get together with your colleagues after working hours, what do you usually talk about? Yep, you guessed it: Work.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be friendly with co-workers. But, at the very least, you should find time to hang out with people who won’t remind you that, yes, the boss is going to conduct another evaluation next week. Or at least put work off the table when out with co-workers.

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6. Know When and How to Say No

No isn’t always a bad word. When you know which opportunities to turn down, and which ones to grab without batting an eyelash, you’ll have fewer things weighing you down than a yes-woman does. After all, there’s only so much you can do while you’re alive, so better make sure the things you choose to do are actually worth it.

7. Delegate Some of Your Work

If saying “no” isn’t an option, it won’t hurt to delegate. Coworkers will be more than happy to help with – and take some of the credit for – a project you’re spearheading.

Also, don’t be afraid to share chores and expenses with family members/roommates/partners. They might grumble a bit about it at first, but believe me: They’ll eventually appreciate the extra responsibility. 

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8. Get a Good Night’s Rest

Until recently, scientists couldn’t agree on the exact amount of hours of sleep we needed. But they have always agreed on one thing: quality sleep matters. If you managed to get some shut-eye for five hours straight, without any interruptions whatsoever, you’ll be in better shape compared to someone who tried to sleep for eight hours, but was constantly woken up by a group of screaming cats outside her house.

9. Shake Things Up a Bit

Sometimes you end up integrating work and life too well, to the point you might say: “So, I’ve finally mastered the art of juggling life. Now what?” While a peaceful, simple life is a good thing on its own, there’s always that danger of boredom getting the better of you.

If “I just want to get this over with” is now your morning mantra, check your calendar to see whether you can take a day off. Then, think about that thing you’ve always wanted to do, or that online professional course you’ve always wanted to take, but kept procrastinating for one reason or another. Then, do it! (On your day off, of course.) It doesn’t have to be hard if you follow these tips from Dr. Ramiro Zuniga!

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10. Block Out Time for Work and Play

Simply because you love your job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a day off. Consider a short staycation to get a break and enjoy something in your area. Even passionate people burn out when they don’t know how to set boundaries between work and play.

Even if you have a typical 9-to-5 job, consider setting a schedule for yourself. Your schedule doesn’t have to be as strict as “Do not work beyond 5 PM no matter what happens,” but it should never stretch you too thin, either.

11. Remember to Put Yourself First

It’s one thing to be selfish. It’s another to bend over backwards for everyone else, to the point that your literal and figurative spine snaps. Don’t forget to set “me” time to recharge your batteries, and get yourself ready for another day of juggling work and life.

Yes, “work” and “life” are basically the same for us now. But that doesn’t mean we should let either of them get on our nerves. If you protect the glue that holds your work and life together (you!), you also protect everything that matters.

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