Work-Life Balance Secrets from 7 Women We Admire

One of the biggest struggles that face women today is figuring out that perfect formula for maintaining a balance between the amount of time we spend working on our careers versus the amount of time we spend at home with our families. Are there work-life balance secrets to make it all work?

Today’s world is built on the idea that if you aren’t working 24/7 then you won’t be successful, but if you are working 24/7 there’s no way that you could be a good friend, spouse or parent. While it’s unfortunate that men aren’t tasked with the same pressure of perfecting that balance, for women, it’s often at the forefront of their minds and, as we’ll see for some successful women, it’s also a question that’s brought up in interviews fairly often.

Below are some great thoughts from successful women about what it means to maintain a work-life balance in today’s work-all-the-time minded world.

Work-Life Balance Secrets From 7 Women We Admire

TV Producer Shonda Rhimes:

“…as a very successful woman, a single mother of three, who constantly gets asked the question “How do you do it all?” For once I am going to answer that question with 100 percent honesty here for you now. Because it’s just us. Because it’s our fireside chat. Because somebody has to tell you the truth.

Shonda, how do you do it all?

The answer is this: I don’t.

Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life.

If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and storytime at home. If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh’s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost.

Something is always missing.

And yet. I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them.”

Cosmo EIC Joanna Coles: 

“I never do any work on a Sunday, unless there’s a crisis. Saturday and Sunday are my days for restocking my brain, and I find if I don’t do that and I work Saturday and Sunday, I get tired. I like having Saturday and Sunday as a punctuation mark at the end of the week.”

United States First Lady Michelle Obama:

“Women, in particular, need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to-do’ list.”

Christine Wheeler, Founder of Drazil Kids Tea:

“Working women face the expectation to do well in all areas of their multi-faceted lives. In general, men are judged by how well they do in their careers, while women are judged by how well they excel with family, friends, ‘looking their best’ and if they work, their career. It’s a struggle to find enough time in the day to focus on them all! My advice is to really understand what is important to you, set goals and put a plan in place to reach them. At the same time, keep in mind that during any part of your life, you can’t do it all. Thus, it’s important to focus on the positive and what you have at the time.”

Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo:

“So find your rhythm, understand what makes you resentful, and protect it. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. And thinking that way empowers you to work really hard for a really long period of time.”

Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of The Huffington Post:

“How we play [the game of life] is dependent on what we value,” she says. “And if we only value money or power, we’re never going to have enough of either … It’s only when we begin to value the third metric of life [thriving] that we actually begin to fully live.”

Iyanla Vanzant, Speaker, TV Personality, Life Coach:

“Life is more than work. Life is also about balance. In order to have balance, we must do more than work. What about fun? How about rest? Work is necessary but it is not the only thing required to get ahead. All work and no play may give us a balanced checkbook, but it can also give us an unbalanced mind.”

How do you maintain a balance between your busy work life and your busy home life? Do you have work-life balance secrets that make a difference in your day-to-day?

Published in Career, Featured Articles, Life