ThirdPath

What does it mean to lead an “integrated life?”

You want – and need – time for family, for personal relationships, for community involvement, as well as for hobbies and other interests. They help you refuel your soul and are important parts of what makes life worth living.

You also need – and want – to work
Certainly we all need an income, but there’s more to it than that. Work feeds our need to contribute to something bigger, it can provide an important sense of purpose, it can even be re-energizing. However, our need for work and our need for life outside of work often feel in conflict. And because these two spheres seem to compete for our time and energy, we feel stressed out and less than competent on both fronts.

There is a different way
If you arrange your work and home lives so they fit together to fulfill all your needs, you can create a life that has time for your work as well as time for relationships, family and outside interests. That’s what it means to lead an integrated life – to create your “third path.” These two worlds are integrated to create a well-rounded whole. It’s a more complete version of you.  It’s the you with time to enjoy all the different parts of your life that light your passion alongside work or a fulfilling career.

~ Take a look at our Key Integration Practices handout with tips for setting “win-win” boundaries at work so you have more time for life.
~ Peruse the rest of our website for inspiring ideas and stories about integrating work and life, work and family, or work and leadership.
~ Learn by participating in our free Thursdays with ThirdPath webinars or by joining our community of Integrated Life Advocates

Find out more about the many resources we offer to help you take the next step towards achieving your dream of leading an integrated life.

Questions About Integrating Work and Life

Q: Where do I begin?
Although it may seem counter intuitive, the clearer you are about your goals outside of work, the more successful you will become in finding a win-win solution – a way to succeed at work and succeed in your life outside of work.  Testing out this approach early in your career may also pay dividends for a lifetime. Download a copy of our PDF A life committed to integration and start planning what you want to make time for.  Whether it’s teaching a class, making time for writing, or caring for a loved one, read our integration stories and learn how others have paved a road for you to follow.
Q: What do you mean by a win-win solution?
At the core of all of ThirdPath Institute’s work is teaching individuals how to develop win-win solutions – solutions that are good for you and good for your employer.  Different jobs require different solutions, but when done effectively, rethinking how you approach your work might actually improve your job performance.  Read Colin’s story and see how his desire to work four days a week helped him develop a number of more effective work practices.
ThirdPath is here to help you design your win-win solution.  Print a copy of our Four Ways to Flex worksheet and find the win-win solution for the work you do.  Or take a look at our Get Help section and see how we can work with you to find your “third path” – an integrated approach to work and life.
Q: Is working flexibly for Dads and leaders too?
Our work with Shared Care families and Integrated Leaders shows that male or female, entry level or executive level, there is a win-win way to redesign your work – a solution that is good for you and good for your employer.

Survey after survey shows that fathers want to spend more time with their children. We’ve also learned that sharing in the responsibilities and joys of family allows both parents to have a deeper understanding of each other’s lives.
Our work with Integrated Leaders has also shown they bring unique skills to their roles as managers and leaders. In fact, it is the well practiced combination of setting priorities, looking for efficiencies, increasing the level of interdependence, and setting collective boundaries that makes these integrated leaders so competent. Most importantly, their desire to create time and energy for their lives outside of work gives them the motivation to develop these skills.
No matter the reason, no matter the work, everyone gains when dads, moms and leaders are supported to live full lives – their families, their organizations, their communities.

Q: Is living an integrated life affordable?
People who categorically put work before all other life priorities may earn the bigger pay check or get the faster promotion.  This might even be the best option for you.  But you also need to ask yourself, what would your life look like if you considered earning or spending a little less to create more time?  What are the costs for not making these changes?  More stress at home?  Less time for loved ones?  Inefficiencies at work? Loss of your dreams?  Every person needs to find the solution that works best for him or her.  But with a little planning and outside-the-box thinking, there is an affordable solution for integrating work and life for everyone.  Find out more about the many resources we offer to help you take the next step towards achieving your dream of leading an integrated life.
Q: How can I get more involved in the work and mission of your organization?
Do you want to connect with a community of people interested in living an integrated life and find ways to support a wider movement for change?   Join one of our Integrated Life Advocate groups and connect with a network of individuals and professionals that believe in a new approach to work and life.  Become a volunteer and use your passion to help us expand our reach – write a blog post, interview a Shared Care family, organize a ThirdPath event in your community. You could even get started this month by joining our Thursday with ThirdPath calls where we showcase individuals and experts who want to share their experiences creating integrated solutions.
Contact us, we’d love to find a way to connect your interest with one of our many cutting edge activities.

Creating More Flex

We believe there is a win-win work redesign solution for every job – a solution that is good for you and good for your employer. To look for these solutions you first need to understand the four different ways to flex work and then see which of these options apply to your work. Not every job can be flexed in all four ways, but there is a flexible solution for every job. Print a copy of our Four Ways to Flex worksheet and look for the unique flexibility in the work you do. Or read on to learn how Adam found a win-win solution for flexing his work.

Adam’s story – Adam joined an import-export company located in Central America. Adam works out of a home office on the east coast and does business across the continental United States and the Caribbeans. Adam is also the father of two school age children. Adam and his wife established a commitment to Share Care right from the start. Now that their children are older he and his wife Share Care before and after school and over the summers.

Q: How does Adam flex ‘when’ he works?
Adam works from a home office. The bulk of Adam’s work can be done over the phone, or via email and faxes. As a result, Adam schedules different pieces of the work he does for different times of the day. For instance, he saves work that doesn’t require customer contact, such as quotes, to do at night after his kids are in bed.
Q: How does Adam flex ‘where’ he works?
Even though most of Adam’s job could be done from his home office, there are some aspects, trade shows and business travel, that require him to be physically present in order to get the work done. To reduce the challenges of week-long trade shows, Adam and his wife plan these changes in advance and build in extra support at home. He also limits other business trips to one or two days, leaving early and coming home late. This also limits the amount of extra juggling required at home.
Q: How does Adam adjust ‘workflow’ to maintain the right amount of work?
When Adam started his new job he did not feel it was necessary to set many boundaries in the amount of work he did. He could see that the company was growing, but he was able to manage this growth and still have plenty of time for the things he cared about outside of work. However, as the company tripled in size, Adam quickly learned that the pace of his work was getting out of hand. More and more of his days were spent dealing with problems instead of taking the time to put systems in place to keep up with the continued growth. With the help of an outside consultant, Adam re-evaluated the work he was involved with, and figured out how to delegate certain pieces of his job to a full-time project manager. Now Adam makes it an on-going part of his job to assess the growth of different customers and plan for necessary increases in staff to support this growth.
Q: How does Adam use ‘substitution’ to maintain the right amount of work?
When Adam realized the company needed to hire a new employee, he knew there would be some hurdles to overcome if he wanted to train someone else to take over different aspects of his work. However, Adam could see this was a necessary step to regaining the balance he once enjoyed. Over time he has even learned how good he is at this skill, and he is the person who manages multiple project managers at his workplace.

Would you like to flex where or when you work or work reduced work hours? Check our our many resources. Let us help you take the next step towards achieving an integrated life.

Prioritizing Time and Money

One of the main barriers we hear people talk about – they feel they cannot afford to cut back at work to make more time for other life interests. This is particularly true in today’s struggling economy and difficult job market.  However, after interviewing hundreds of individuals who have discovered how to create an integrated approach to work and life, we know there are many creative solutions to this puzzle.

What does this mean for your life?
More and more we are finding people who have made innovative decisions about time and money. What would your life look like if you were to consider earning or spending a little less to create more time?  What choices have you made that tie you to your current, or even increased, income? There is tremendous pressure in our society to “climb” – at our jobs, in our social circles – how have you reacted to this pressure?

What do you want more time for?  What kind of changes can you make today to make your dreams more affordable tomorrow?  Learn more from the many resources we have to offer.

Integration Stories


Brett

Brett

Brett is an equity partner in a large international law firm. Little did he know how much his decision to teach a course while moving ahead on the partnership track would be the first step in developing a set of 21stcentury skills – skills that he uses every day, now that he’s balancing work and family.


Colin

Colin

Colin works as an engineer for a small company that designs and manufactures custom cycles for the physically disabled. He is also married, and the father of three children under the age of 8. To create more time for family, Colin has been working a four day (34 hour) work week.


Michelle

Michelle1

Michelle graduated with a degree in accounting and English. After working full time for a few years, Michelle researched the company’s policies and then re-arranged her schedule to do writing during the off season. This fall we will add part 2 of her story now that she is integrating work, family and writing.

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Our Mission

Assist individuals, families and organizations in finding new ways to redesign work to create time for family, community and other life priorities. Develop a growing community of individuals, leaders and organizations to influence wider change - both within organizations and at the public policy level. Support a new mind-set where everyone can follow a "third path" - an integrated approach to work and life.

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ThirdPath Institute
P.O. Box 9275, Philadelphia PA 19139
Phone: 215.747.8790
Email: time4life (at) thirdpath.org