This is part 2 in a three-part workplace series. To read the previous instalment, Staying Aligned At Work: 5 Strategies You Can Implement Today, click HERE.

Surely you’ve heard the phrase work life balance so many times you no longer know exactly what it means.

The tension between our work and our personal lives is always going to be there; and those in pursuit of “balance” are often chronically disappointed.

Since our personal lives are often further divided between household responsibilities, family and personal care, it’s no surprise so many of us are feeling stretched.

But what if we could integrate these separate aspects of our lives?

In an ideal world, it might look like this: you work with your spouse and kids; you get paid while you play; and you all pitch in and do the cooking and cleaning together. Living on a sailboat year round or being a full time travel family might look like this.

So, let’s work backwards and see what integration could look like for you, starting today.


Does your workplace have an exercise room? Working out during the day breaks things up and allows you to be more productive when you’re actually “working.” Could you work out with a friend, thereby getting a good dose of good-for-your-soul conversation in at the same time?

Even if your employer doesn’t allow you to work out during office hours, exercising on your way to or from work means you don’t have make going to the gym a separate trip.

Or what if you have family soccer or baseball games in the evenings? Go for family bike rides or find other ways to be active together?


In what ways can your family — your children and your spouse — be a part of your work life? If you are self-employed you have far more control over this; but even if you aren’t, it’s worth stretching the limits of your imagination and seeing what you can come up with.

An American woman I know married a Russian man; they both found jobs at an international school in Dubai, he as a math teacher, she as a college counsellor. If they have kids one day, they can attend the same school where their parents work.

Household Responsibilities:

What chores can be shared by different family members? Which tasks can be done together? Can your kids clear the table while one adult rinses the dishes and another loads the dishwasher?

Such a nightly routine can become even more fun if you crank up the music and turn it into a dance party.


Everyone needs their personal time, and I’m not suggesting you integrate your family into all aspects of your life. But the truth is I see my friends who have kids more often than those who don’t, because our children can play together while we eat or have coffee.


We all need to earn a living; we have mortgages to pay, households to finance, car payments, not to mention all the expenses that come with raising children.

But is your work “just a job?” Simply something you do to pay the bills?

Even if your job isn’t completely aligned with your life’s purpose, in what ways can you bring your full attention, your heart, to each task while you’re at work?

How different would working at Starbucks be if you prepared each cup of coffee with the intention to pour love into it? How would cleaning the stables at the local ranch be different, if you did your job joyfully? Think about a nurse on a children’s ward. If she can connect the work she does with the meaning of her life, isn’t she going to leave work energized as opposed to depleted?

DON’T think of your work, or anything you do for that matter, as a way to pass the time; don’t watch the clock or wait for the hours to pass. Make what you do count, regardless of what it is. Your higher energy will reflect back more of the same.

YOUR TURN: grab a pen or pencil and jot down a quick list of all the things of all the things you would ideally do each week. Be sure to to include “perfect day” items, activities that energize you and make you feel vibrant. You can use the above categories as a guide, but feel free to add others.

Next, look for activities from two different categories you could combine.

Choose a day and time for this integrated activity and promise yourself you’re going to make it happen. Hold yourself accountable by heading over to Instagram, where I regularly share different ways to live more intentionally. Follow me (@cecilepopp) and then send me a DM telling me about your intention to integrate two aspects of your life this week.

This is part 2 in a three-part workplace series. To read the previous instalment, Staying Aligned At Work: 5 Strategies You Can Implement Today, click HERE.

Originally published at


  • Cecile Popp

    Educator, Writer, Mother of three, Canadian expat living in Turkey

    Cecile Popp is a Canadian educator and writer living in southern Turkey. For over a decade she taught English Language Arts at Turkish high schools, most recently at Robert College in Istanbul, where she worked for seven years. Now, seeking a quieter life, she has returned to the south to write and work on other projects, most notably a memoir about her Baltic German grandparents. Her YouTube channel, From Canada to Adana, features visual essays about her life in Turkey. She lives in Adana with her husband and their three sons and teaches at the university.