As a business-owner or an entrepreneur, juggling various commitments at any given time is one of the biggest tasks at hand. Whether it is finding time to exercise and be mindful or spending time with your children and socialising with friends, making sure that there is a balance between work and home life is essential for the productive running of any business.
As more of us work from home, it can feel as if we are never ‘off the clock’ and are being pulled in every direction. That’s why at London Business Magazine, we have spoken to some brilliant thinkers, creatives and businesspeople about how they balance their career with their person life.
Sujata Tiwari: “Remember to recharge”
Sujata is an entrepreneur, consultant, mentor and writer.
Based in Singapore, her mission is to enhance people’s lives, business and safety through her work. She uses her expertise to enable the rediscovery of motivation and fulfilment in people’s careers and relationships.
Most women do two careers: outside in the workplace (which does get you some pay, even if it may not be what you deserve) and at home, the career of the homemaker is an unpaid labour.
Don’t be pressured to be superwomen and be exploited. Prioritise on the immediate tasks and the ones that can be done later. Invest in hiring resources to ease the household chores . It’s called the efficient way to work and achieve results. Be the manager at home not the subordinate. Every gadget needs a charger.
Recharge your battery with quality time for yourself. You always have a choice to be a doormat or the Captain of your career.
Ellen Patricia: “Make sure to prioritise”
Ellen is a speaker, trainer and specialist consultant in Indonesia. She provides her professional services to many individuals as well as major organisations, including the World Bank.
Prior to her career in coaching, counseling, & public speaking, she was a successful professional in the property business.
The ongoing pandemic has brought about massive changes. Hence, it is little wonder that many of us feel overwhelmed and out of balance. In order to restore balance, first we need to review the life that we are currently living and compare it with our picture of ideal life.
By doing this, we will have some insights on the things that we are currently doing that we would like to do more of and less of. Achieving a balanced life starts with awareness, because we can only change what we are aware of.
We need to take into account that balance is a situation in which different elements are in the correct proportions. As such, achieving a balanced life does not mean giving equal amount of focus to each area of life. It is okay to allocate different amount of time and energy to different areas of life, depending on our seasons of life.
That is called prioritisation. Once we are clear on our priorities, we can then decide on the first action step that will help move us forward, and from there, keep taking the next right steps towards the direction that we desire.
Ronda Robinson: “Reflect on your challenges”
Based in the USA, Ronda is a keynote speaker, performance consultant and certified professional in talent development (CPTD).
She is on a mission to infuse more humanity into workplaces around the world in the hope of making employees and employers happier.
The disproportionate number of women who left the workforce during the pandemic to resume childcare and household chores highlights that bias toward traditional gender roles still has heavy influence. Work-life balance has been positioned as the solution to women’s equal opportunity employment and expanding female diversity in the workplace.
The speed of change will accelerate once organisations realise that achieving more balance is a people issue, not solely a women’s issue, because the concerns are not only linked to working parents.
Women can reduce the energy toll of juggling a career with life’s demands. The solution might surprise you. The first step is recognising universal drivers that influence a person’s positive or negative reaction to situations and to people. These include the need for certainty, autonomy, relating, equality, and feeling valued. Next, determine which of these need improvement in a specific setting, and then take action to correct it.
For example, you may be preoccupied with navigating a hybrid work schedule. To gain more certainty, propose clear operating guidelines with a specific date to revisit and revise as needed. Doing so will shift underlying, energy-draining emotions into feeling galvanised with more energy to focus on life!
Anda Goseco: “Be clear about your goals”
Anda is a coach, mentor and trainer based in the Philippines who specialises in helping to inspire good leaders into becoming great ones.
Her work focuses on aiding people in self-mastery and building effective teams.
We have to set our priorities and be clear about our goals. If you were to look at your life in a pie, in which areas of would you like to spend more of your time? What does each piece of the pie look like?
I realised that as I defined what was truly valuable to me and how I would like to spend my time, it was easier for me to make better choices. Whenever I feel that there is no balance, I use it as a guide to refocus on the things that matter.
We need to deliberately take breaks. As women, we naturally take care of others but often forget to take care of ourselves. We need not just to be kind to ourselves but to pause and celebrate our own little and big victories. These help to break the stress loop of being constantly on the go, bringing us to autopilot and dampening our creativity and innovation.
Each day you are given a choice on how you will spend your time. Allow yourself to experiment until you find your balance. Enjoy the peace of knowing that your time has been well-spent.
Tatiana Kononenkova: “Make lists and stick to them”
Tatiana is an immigration lawyer and owner of Kononenkova Partners, a law firm based in Ukraine.
She splits her time between Ukraine and Norway and is part of Oslo’s Global Woman Club.
I came to this question of finding a balance when created a family moved from Ukraine to live with my husband in Norway. That was a big dilemma that meant I had to organise our life, so I could keep good things going in both countries.
When the pandemic came, I was not prepared for the big challenges like not being able to quickly fly when I needed. I had a serious case that I needed to make in the Ukrainian immigration service. Thankfully, with the help of my assistant, I managed to do my job very well.
I had difficult feelings these two years with combination of private life, circumstances, and career. At the end of 2021 I found a balance between career and private life in two countries and got relief.
My solution was to adapt to challenges and how things were.
I suggest to choose a priorities in different spheres and make the following check-lists for goals in your:
- Private life
- Career or business
- Private development
It is useful to have a good community of people that divide your views on career and private life. You need to manage yourself, see positive sides and find the best solution that suits you.
Marianne Jansen: “Find joy in the little things”
Marianne is an artist working in the Netherlands. Through her drawings and sculptures, she hopes to capture both the vulnerabilities of humans and herself.
Her works are symbols that she hopes give shapes to ideas and emotions.
Being an artist, work is not separated from me as a person. Finding balance in my private and professional life gives me space to develop my art. Art is a demanding job and it is part of me.
Take a break when things get tough, and never leave things unfinished. My biggest piece of advice is that when you do have to juggle between work, travel, and family life: surround yourself with friends, join a positive group, like Global Woman for example, and stay connected.
To recharge after working alone in my studio, I turn on some music or goto the gym. The activity I like the most is to walk in nature to listen and the murmuring leaves in trees, the birds singing, and hear the splashing of water. Breathe in the fresh air.
Shreesha Khare: “Follow your inner compass”
Fed up with corporatist capitalism after working in HR analytics, Shreesha followed her creative instincts to become a writer.
She also presents the Minimalist Talks podcast, that explores sprituality in the modern world.
The belief system of having a work life balance that we all strive for, is an illusion.
However, we will always need to juggle between our work and the impulse to pursue our career ambitions. It is more of a cyclical process.
What I have observed and learned throughout my journey is that, we need to have a proper boundaries set up between family and work. As outside interference will always be there, backed up with uncertainty, unusual expectations, judgements and all…no matter what, we just cannot fulfil it.
By following our inner compass – that inner sanctuary from where our feelings of impulse originate – we should allow it to become a guiding force. We need to focus our attention on inner biological feedback and ask, “Is this something that needs urgent attention or can it wait?
Women have a choice. A choice to have it all or to focus on what she desires. It’s a choice that becomes easier as she becomes more convinced of her own capacity to be successful in her career.
We wish to incarnate our own unique expression but there is and always will be juggling for a woman, as long as the work environment is not supportive of her creative genius. Finding who resonates with her and shares her desires is a great way to find balance.
So, if your inner compass guides towards something you want, go that way; if it feels stressful, go the other way.
Joy Adams: “Think about integration, rather than balance”
With a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University, Joy has built up a resume working on economic development.
In 2019, she founded Weekend Startup Warriors, which aims to support new enterpreneurs.
I don’t have kids. I am not married. I get to control most of my schedule. So, why is “balance” important for someone like me?
According to a report shared in The Guardian, “Nearly one in seven Britons could live alone by 2039”. The number of childless older people in the UK is expected to double by 2030. People like me have to work harder to ensure our success – financially and emotionally – by ourselves. Many of us are also caring for older parents.
Balance is important for single people, parents, those in couples and beyond. Those following the recent tragedy surrounding the suicide of Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, can clearly see that strong, successful, single women need support and mental health resources too.
So, what can we do?
1 – Set some boundaries. Be clear with friends and family when you need to work. I set aside the weekend to work on my business, but make time for friends/gym in the evening.
2 – Get help where you need it. No one can do it all. At Weekend Startup Warriors, we use Upwork, Fiverr and Flik to find the help and support we need. There are also great apps like Talkspace for mental health support.
3 – Think about “integration” rather than “balance”. All of my business apps are also on my phone. I can keep things moving in the right direction even when I am not in front of my computer.