Work Life Integration vs Balance, There Is a Difference

With so many businesses being directed by sole proprietors (78.2% by US Census Bureau) , there is a lot of work life tension happening 24/7.  Week nights to weekends are jammed with those daily business activities that do not require immediate attention within the 9 to 5 weekday routine.

work-life-integrationWhat I am noticing is there is becoming a distinct difference between work life integration and work life balance.  Balance suggests that everything is weighted equally. Yet for me my mental development, learning more, reading more, in many instances is much more about my professional life than personal life and is part of my marketing, sales and innovation aspects of my business.

Years ago I constructed two sets of wheels, one for my personal life and another for my professional life. Then in developing some tools for clients, I developed separate wheels for executive leadership, management, team leadership or supervision, leadership, sales, customer loyalty, innovation,  marketing and small business.


For me, I no longer have just two wheels, but rather I have numerous wheels working together, integrated. These wheels remind me of the gears (wheels) found in the old fashioned, hand wound clocks. When one is working harder than another, the clock moves faster and the opposite happens when one wheel is moving slower than the other.

5-Star-ModelThis work life integration goes beyond balance because sometimes due to the demands of work life being out of balance intentionally happens. Yes imbalance impacts productivity. Yet, if the work life integration is still in alignment with strategy, structure, processes,rewards and people, the negative impact is considerably lessened. (5 Star Model)

And there is the other element present of alignment.  All wheels require alignment along with the balance and integration. Alignment returns me to my personal growth action plan as well as my small business action plans.

For today’s small business owner and sales professional understanding work life integration along with balance and alignment can make the difference between happiness and sadness.

These one page business action plans may help you gain greater clarity.

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