Tony Robbins and others talk about ideas like "integration" instead of balance, for people like myself that are deeply passionate about their work and friendships, then it becomes less about choosing and more about integrating. I often hear people say, "I don't act that way at work" or "in my personal life", statements like this rattle me! It is impossible to fragment yourself in that way. Sure, we can all perform certain tasks or deliver on objectives but who we are all bleeds together, you are a whole person everywhere you go and if "part of you" is not at the party, well, everyone including you is suffering. As I like to say, "who you are at the kitchen table is who you are at work"... my kitchen table is about to be set for 3, and I am anticipating the adventure of how that will propel me to be even better and have more to offer in every area of my life.
The above quote is from my last article "the Context of Integration" if you missed it, check it out to inform my context for this blog... see how I did that? :) My intention is to focus this blog post on all things integration, now that we have some context around why I am talking about integration on a whole new level, let's chat about how the future of work "mentality" can inform a schedule or ideals for living.
Now as a disclaimer, I am writing on these topics and speculating amidst my journey being pregnant, nothing I share has been vetted by myself as a parent, yet. So I am sure those of you that are parents already have informed opinions about what I am writing about based on experiences you've had, so please join in the conversation! It will be really great to see if my intentions and ideals line up with reality, only time will tell ;-)
Back to "The future of work" idea... what is this concept all about anyway? It certainly is a heavy buzz phrase being used and I do have my own opinion on the topic and there is of course always also what google has to say.
The Future of work is a lot of things to a lot of people based on their motivation and topic they are relating it to, and, for the purpose of our discussion lets keep it simple; if you distill down the concepts it boils down to what is possible relating to work, because of technology. For instance, growing up, my Dad was an Engineer, he "went to work" everyday, to an office where his computer and the people he collaborated with also went, to do his job, returning home each evening leaving all the things required to "do his job", there at the office. Now, if my Dad did that exact same job today, he could work 100% remote, from anywhere in the world. Thanks to laptops, iPhones, and video conferencing a role like his could be done completely outside of the construct of a company occupying an office space etc.
With that flexibility all sorts of freedoms become available, he could have easily taken a lunch break at home, taken a 30 minute break to do the afternoon carpool pick up, and really allowed for a completely different co-parenting arrangement than what I grew up with. My Mom would have had the flexibility during the day having him home, and arguably, he would have gotten the same (if not more) work done with less the typical office distractions. The idea of co-parenting becomes more liberated when you add in "future of work" concepts because lines are blurred, it is no longer a linear process of "we all leave the house, we all come back to the house" but instead, the home becomes a hub and off site offices or daycare becomes less necessary.
An important note to add here is that remote work requires many upstanding character traits both for the employee and the employer. I am not saying this transition from office to home can happen over night, however with the right culture and values in place, anything is possible when seen through the lens of abundance. The good news is if the organization and it's employees can take on the venture, the concept of the future of work can really liberate our existing "jobs" and create new dynamics that disrupt the old styles and models of work.
One of my favorite ideas that is found inside of this same notion is that of "jobs" no longer existing and instead collaboration or aligned talent becomes the new way. Think freelancing, but at signifiant scale. However, that is another blog for another time, coming back to the topic... what is most important here is the idea that IF we are working in collaboration, with location freedom, the opportunities to get extremely creative with integration becomes completely available to anyone that wants to try it out.
In 2011 my mentor and friend, Bryan O'Rourke suggested I read a book called the 4 hour work week, I did and now I am going to suggest that you, go read that book if have not before! That book planted a very important idea in my mind that has since collided with other similar ideas and helped inform many of my day to day decisions. I realized after reading that book that my choices, what I as spending time on, was completely up to me, and my evaluation of how I did certain activities was also, up to me. I (nor anyone else) is at "the effect" of any choices, you at some point, made a choice that is contributing to what is your current reality. So if you are doing something and want to be doing something else, make a new choice. For instance, would you rather spend an extra two hours per weekend with your spouse instead of cleaning your house, well, outsource that chore to a person that likes cleaning and pay them to clean your house, get that time back. Feel like you can't afford that? How much did you spend at Amazon or at Starbucks today? The money is usually there if you look for it. That is one example, but I really started asking myself questions about my time, where I spent it, was it really creating the results I wanted and how could I change if it wasn't?
A good place to start would be to take an inventory of what you are currently spending time on. Just like analyzing your bank account transactions to assess where your money is going, assessing what you spend time in is a very similar activity. Are you committed to suffering or thriving? wasting time or creating time? All of these choices are yours for the taking.
A good way to do this is print out a by the hour calendar, or use a digital daily view and write in each day, then for the week what you are doing and for how long, don't lie, you will only cheat yourself if you do. Once you have done this "reverse" calendaring of sorts, start to look at what you spend time doing and for how long, create groups, rank them, include sleep, tv time, time with loved ones, gym activities... record everything you do... how long does it take you to get ready in the morning etc. After you have inventoried your time, take a good look at the facts about what you are spending time on and only when ready, ask yourself these two vital questions.
Do you actually want to create time to integrate new and exciting endeavors?
Do you want to experience thriving or have you created a life of suffering to keep you safe?
Part of this mind shift is giving up any notion of martyrdom or complaining, sure life can be hard, but talking about what you don't enjoy less action will no longer work once you know the facts about your time spending habits.
Once you know the answer to your question, if you are willing to integrate thriving into your life, the future of work becomes a concept that is totally obvious and easy to consider.
In my world, all of these activities and concepts combined by a very realistic (almost obsessive) knowledge of where my time goes, is really informing how I am planning to integrate being a mother, my work in the world and all of my favorite relationships into one big pot of Lindsey Rainh2o, soup!
Commitment, choice and intention. Every single day can be filled with work helping others, time with those you love and time investing in yourself. Although, becoming a mother is the largest integration I have ever imagined, I do believe that rather than thinking I can "do it all", whatever that means, instead, I get to choose from a place of choice. I choose now and plan to continue to choose to create time each day to do the things I really love doing and that mindset, I believe will contribute to informing how I co author the next chapter of my life integration.