Integrating Work and Life: A Personal Story 

Life is full of change, and I now find myself navigating the integration of work and life with even more grace and strategic planning than before. 


For those who know my story, you’ll understand that about five years ago, my life changed when I married for the first time in my life. In that process, I inherited my wonderful husband, his three children, and partners, and now we are blessed with six grandchildren!


This, of course, is in addition to my own sister and her family – who have always played a huge role in my life as I was always “Aunty Jo”.


Recently, as my husband took on a contract in Canberra for a couple of years, I embraced the challenge of setting up dual bases in both Sydney and Canberra, showcasing my commitment to both my professional endeavours and personal life.


Central to my ability to integrate work and life successfully are two things.


Fundamental to all that I do is relationship – and my relatively new “life” as a wife, step-mother, grandmother and daughter-in-law are roles I take very seriously and feel quite blessed to have in my life. The other crucial aspect in my life is my business and career – commitments that mean a lot to me as I’ve been working toward both for many years.  


(Fun fact: 2024 is the 20th anniversary of setting up my Executive Coaching and Strategic HR Advisory practice, PeopleEdge Coaching & Consulting).  


I’ve recognised that with my new living circumstances, I need to be even more vigilant around planning my business and career around the flexibility of remote work. Leveraging my extensive experience of over thirty years working in executive roles in large global organisations, I have strategically positioned myself to adapt to changing circumstances, such as my husband’s relocation. This foresight not only demonstrates my business acumen but also underscores my commitment to creating a life that accommodates both personal and professional aspirations. 


Crucial to this integration is my meticulous approach to daily, weekly and monthly planning in line with my annual strategic planning. Understanding the importance of effective time and priority management, I ensure that my schedule accommodates both professional commitments and personal priorities. This disciplined approach allows me to stay on top of my responsibilities in both Sydney and Canberra, avoiding the pitfalls of imbalance that can often accompany such dual-location arrangements. 


Communication plays a pivotal role in my strategy for harmonising work and life. By clearly articulating my availability, boundaries as well as priorities to the right audiences and clients, I establish a transparent and supportive environment. This open communication not only fosters understanding but also ensures that my professional relationships remain strong and resilient, even in the face of challenges which inevitably pop up in dual city lifestyles. 


My commitment to understanding the needs and desires of my family and others close to me, forms another cornerstone of my approach. By aligning my choices with the collective aspirations of my family and friends, I construct a life that brings fulfillment to both me and my loved ones. This empathic understanding allows me to make informed decisions that contribute to the well-being of everyone involved. 


Constant review is a key element in my strategy for successful work-life integration. Recognising the need for flexibility and adaptability, I remain agile in adjusting my plans as circumstances evolve. This “juggling act” demands resilience and a willingness to reassess priorities regularly, ensuring that the chosen path continues to align with my overarching goals. 


In conclusion, having a thoughtful and intentional approach to integrating work and life, particularly in the face of my new way of working is key. It’s important to plan strategically, communicate effectively and understand and incorporate family dynamics along with adapting to changing circumstances in order to achieve a harmonious blend of professional success and personal fulfillment. 


Jo Attard Watters is the Managing Principal and Founder of PeopleEdge Coaching & Consulting. Jo is a professional, Master’s degree qualified Executive and Career Management Coach, Consultant, Business Adviser and Academic who works with individuals and organisations to help them “be the best they can be”. With significant experience within both Corporate and Not for Profit sectors, Jo is passionate about seeing her clients succeed in their areas of interest.