Should we stop thinking “work-life balance” and start thinking work-life integration?

"When I sought 'balance,' I felt guilty when I 'worked' during the evening because that was 'family time,' and I would have felt guilty if exercised during the day because that is 'work' time. Which is one reason I gained 30 pounds as a ministry leader in my early 30s" - 5 Ways Thinking Work-Life Integration Has Helped Me

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JD Miller's picture

Yes.  With the exception of when I was a full time time pastor I have always been a self employed entrepreneur (even as a pastor the IRS considered me self employed).  For me, this stuff just comes naturally- it is like scheduling work around the weather as a farmer (that was my first job).  Now I am a bi-vocational self employed contractor and pastor.  Not only do I schedule work around the weather, but also around family events and church responsibilities (kind of like when I was farming and scheduling around weather, livestock, and broken machinery).  Sure, it can get hectic sometimes, but there is also a lot of freedom because unless I am up against a deadline or the weather, I can set my own schedule.  This is also why I work ahead on the important stuff because you never know what surprises will come up (I went to Bible College after farming and my classmates couldn't understand why I had my term papers done 2 weeks before they were due- you have to plan ahead when farming and it helps in other areas as well)  Planning the efficient use of time without blocking off a chunk of a day for just one part of life is important.  For example, today I was able to visit a customer in the morning, catch up on some other work, and then take my son to a chiropractor appointment in the afternoon.  We then did a hospital visit for one of the guys from the church.  While in town for the appointment and visit we also returned some left over materials to Menards from another job I had done.  Ministry, work, and family are constantly overlapping.  I was able to have a spiritual conversation with my customer this morning and they may come to Bible study.  We even got in some leisure time as my son and I stopped at Taco Johns in the middle of the afternoon and sat together in the parking lot talking and ate tacos and potato oles.  It was not even meal time, but it was great.  I usually put in about 55-60 hours per week, but they are broken up so it doesn't seem like it is that much.  A couple of weeks ago it rained so I was able to go with the kids on a field trip in the middle of the day.  Some days I sleep in and work late.  I do not keep regular hours at all, but with a farming background the hours were never regular and we had to be ready to change our plans for the unexpected so this is just normal for me.